I used to sit and watch tomatos grow. The nuns would say "Where is that foolish child?" No one betrayed me. No one said "The garden" So I was safe. The sisters would have smiled at the betrayal. "What garden?" The very notion was absurd, amid the concrete. They'd sooner believe I was on Mars, or adrift in the Indian Ocean. A dirt patch, really: cursing the waning light of another lifeless-day, I gazed with sunlamp radiance, benevolent patience at my secret tomatos, unfazed by the danger of discovery, oblivious to the need to eat -- not wanting friends, just the feel of cold, clammy soil on my hands and feet. It came in the mail, the box of seeds. I was supposed to sell them and win a bike or some other childhood wonder. Keeping them would be a sin. It would be stealing. I did not care. The time had come for me to have a vice. Something mine. Something precious. It seemed that growing illicit tomatos would suffice. As a man, I am embarrassed to say how naive the boy was, how willing to believe, when the radio said tomatos had struck in Kansas and Oklahoma, killing dozens, that I could have such power. A seven year old can plant seeds and wait as long as it takes, nurturing, watering, clearing away the weeds -- Racing through lessons in school, scratching his groin at Sunday mass trusting no one to tell, no one to care about his lethal plants, fragile as glass.
This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.