We had this garden in our backyard growing up, little more than a plot of soil three meters wide where previously it was potted plants, synthetic grass. My grandmother had wanted one when she still lived with us and we'd hear in passing how eager she was, the little conversations she'd have with my mother about what to grow. It was readied by the time she was gone without anybody to tend to it.
For months as a young boy I'd stare out through the back door at that flattened soil. I was drawn to it in the same way I was drawn to the things I was told to abstain from growing up, any manner of rigor when it came to being a boy in the eyes of my father. Any manner of things that tended away from a sense of hard work. In the off-chance neither my parents nor my sister were home, I'd step outside and put a shovel to the dirt. I'd grip the length of the shovel so hard I'd get blisters as I dug a hole and then refilled it.
Eventually my mother had taken an interest in trying to grow some vegetables. Without knowing anything myself, I would argue with her that she was doing something wrong, that the leaves she was using for compost were choking the soil, or that the seeds she was placing needed to be more spaced apart. I had much rather preferred to look at the empty plot without the blemish of jutting leaves.
I'd only ever traveled with my mother once and it was when I was younger. My cousin came along and even then I thought it odd since he had no relation to her. We stayed in the home she had grown up in, a farm on the outskirts of the nearest city. The rooms were lined with flytraps and mosquito nets. We slept in cots with partial windows. Occasionally there was a bray of an animal in the distance.
On a particular night my uncle was flipping through an album of old photos and the ones I had only ever seen of my mother were of her as a student, indoors, with a uniform and plain smile. I couldn't square the image of her as she was with the setting. As much as I tried, I couldn't see my mother doing much to help around in the farm. But there was a part of me even still that wondered how often she was reminded of her upbringing as to want to plant something herself in her adult life.