Taylors Lake

By Jean Bouchara

Edited by Sophie Cunningham



“I have a surprise for you. We bought a house!”

“What? You and dad are in Syria, how did you sign a contract?”

“Your uncle. Oh darling, its’ beautiful.”

“Where is it?”

“Huge! Five bedrooms, high ceilings, solid construction.”

“Uncle George can’t read. What were the contract terms?”

“It’s got a bar, a pool, three bathrooms and a jacuzzi!”

“Mum, which suburb!?”

“Real marble countertops, none of that disgusting veneer or fake stone tops. You know the master bedroom has two walk-in robes.”

“How far from the city is it?”

“Concrete slabs! Concrete, darling. Solid construction not like those horrible weatherboard homes they build everywhere here. Might as well use cardboard. They fall from a gust of wind, rot from the inside.”

“There aren’t earthquakes here.  Or bombs.”

“I like solid construction. I swear, darling, if I see one more rotting weatherboard house being marketed as having character I’ll vomit, I’ll kill myself.”

“We don’t need a reinforced concrete home.”

“It’s got an atrium and a bar, three balconies!”

“Where the fuck is it?!”

“Taylors Lakes!”

“Oh god.”

“I’ve sent you the link. I’ve been glued to the real estate dot com on my Ipad. Have a look. What do you think habibi?”

“I think it was designed by Tony Montana. You couldn’t have checked with us maybe?”

“You’re all so busy with work and uni, I didn’t want to trouble you.”

“You and dad are in Syria. You got our illiterate uncle to sign a contract on our behalf. We now have to go in debt, for a Scarface/Liberace fusion, in the middle of nowhere.”

“It’s got a pool! And a pool house with an outdoor shower!”

“Do you know how hard this will be to maintain?”

“So many palm trees, like you’re in the Comoro Islands, darling. You know, II was thinking acreage in Little River. That would have been a dream, but the Chinese have beat us to it.”

“We would’ve been happy in a tiny apartment near the city.”

“Darling, don’t upset me, buying an apartment is like buying air.”

“You won’t be living in it!”

“They’re a bad investment. And horrible, plastic finishes everywhere. I’d get a heart attack just inspecting one.”

“We’re gonna live on a highway.”

“An outright scam! All these idiots paying hundreds of thousands to be packed like sardines in prison cells. This is a house. A real house with your own land.  Land never loses value. No matter where it is.”

“Wendy doesn’t even have a license.”

“What’s far today will be near tomorrow, habibi.”

Jean Bouchara is the winner of the 2017 Deborah Cass Prize, a prize for emerging writers from a migrant background to tell stories that reflect on the migrant experience in Australia