I lived in Bed-Stuy for three years before discovering the Home Depot around the corner. The superstore is just three blocks away. Rarely do I ever head in the direction of Nostrand Avenue. That’s why I didn’t know the store was there. I use the subway station just out the door, on the corner of Bedford, in the opposite direction of that fabulous warehouse. Several years ago, the lock on our door came undone. Little metal beads fell from the doorlock after I turned the key. It was obvious someone was trying to break into the house. The screwdriver or whatever tool the thieves were using didn’t work. They didn’t get inside, but our lock was ruined.
I didn’t want to go to bed in Bed-Stuy knowing that my door did not have a lock on it, so I walked around the neighborhood, in an attempt to find a hardware store that sold locking mechanisms, like the one inside my steel door that was broken. That’s when I discovered the Home Depot around the corner. The place is endless and they have a garden center. I’m one of a few New Yorkers with a back yard and garden. I went to the Depot today because the weather turned surprisingly warm and I got the urge to fix up my back yard.
My initial morning plans involved only a few Yoga maneuvers in the back yard. I sipped my coffee in the reclining chair in the spare bedroom next to the pool table, believing I would spend my day writing. My lover B. was still in bed. Thankfully he left me a little gift in the ash tray. Soon after my mind began to wonder like a wild weed in a flowerbed, I decided to crawl out the window into the back yard and fix up things a little.
Remnants from last season’s ten foot tall sunflower plants were still sticking out of the dirt like long shoots of bamboo in Asia. The place was an absolute mess. Jose, the Pureto Rican who lives upstairs with that woman with the hair weave and her five kids has been sitting on his fire escape all winter and tossing white cigarette butts into my landscaped paradise. There were so many to be found. His poor lungs, I thought as I finished the roach that B. had left for me. I lit my own Newport before picking up all those cigarette butts.
It took only 10 minutes to toss the sunflower stalks to the compost pile at the back of my lot. The beauty of this sacred place started to return under the warm glow of a bright April sun after completing a few light chores. The cherry tree next door has started to show promise of tiny white flowers. The apple trees already have green leaves. I was inspired by the trees to remove all the other rubbish from winter. Potato chip bags and lids from beer bottles were everywhere. I cleaned them up. I grabbed my spade shovel and turned all the soil in the flower and vegetable beds over. I used a metal hand rake to break up the large clumps of soil. Eventually, everything was done. I took a deep breath, bent over and touched my toes and decided I had done enough exercise for the day and the Yoga stretching would not be necessary.
A warm spring breeze caressed my still glowing cheeks and a slight ding, almost like that of a church bell graced my garden. Brooklyn was still quiet at 8 a.m. It was so beautiful back there this morning.
Home Depot called to me moments later. Surely by now the danger of frost has past in New York City, I realized, noting that the trees must know when its safe to release their blossoms.
Burpless cucumbers have been planted near the wire fence again.
I’m attempting to grow miniature watermelons this summer. Home Depot promises 300 lb pumpkins on the cover of the seed package I purchased for $1.99. There were only three pumpkin seeds inside. They must be the real thing. On the cover of the seed package, the pumpkins are larger than the children who are posed upon their orange skin.
Marigolds went in right under the limbs of the cherry tree and the wind chime that I have hanging back there.
Everything is done. The hard work is over. All I have to do is water now, and pick the weeds and remove the cigarette butts that fall from my neighbor’s lips like careless whispers. He will not be getting any of my vegetables this year, like he did last growing season, I thought as I heard B. scream from inside–
“You fucking pot-heat!”