by Matthew McGuirk, 3.24am Sept 10th 2021
The sound of horns and sight of blacktop streets have replaced silent country nights and the green grass. I miss the country, but the decision to move was logical. I traded my humble country life to double my salary by cramping myself into a downtown apartment in a buzzing city. Young minds are pliable, but I missed the green: the shoots near fences, the taste of crisp lettuce leaves and the perfume of a spring bloom. I remember quiet fields laced with a harmony of birds’ voices across sun-soaked days and running fingers along newly trellised cucumber tendrils on dew draped mornings.
Now I’m stuck waiting for the crosswalk signal, eating greasy pizza or enduring long bus trips to the grocery store for stuffed bags and cramped seats or walks with choking exhaust and lingering cigarette smoke. My reality is crowded with car horns and hectic conversations between people I don’t know over hard blacktop streets.
One night I noticed grass between cracks in the sidewalk pavement near my apartment. I rushed upstairs for a metal spoon and pried up chunks of pavement to give the grass room. The next night I came with purchased seeds and sprinkled them in that fissure, snuck water down in mugs when nobody was looking and nourished my discovery.
Months went by fertilizing and watering by night and watching green steadily grow during daylight hours. People walk down one aisle or the other around my row of trellised cucumber plants cutting the sidewalk in two and tomatoes catching sun just right on city streets. People scurry by with their heads in phones and I smile at my patch of green cut into the city sidewalk and think how many more pieces of pavement I’ll pry up next month.