Nathan L Marshall © 2013 - 2024 |  All Rights Reserved                                                                                                                                                          

It’s been a while since I’ve made my way down here. I don’t come very often. But apparently, everyone knows me. They’ve been talking. It’s like they named a school after me. I’m well respected here. Like, legendary.

People still talk about how I carved this place out by myself, scraping away sand between each and every stone and replacing it with mortar. Day after day. How I painted every single stone painstakingly, by brush— one, two, three coats. Until everything was perfectly white. How I laid on the cold ground to reach some spots, dabbing paint into the little divots of every stone, straining to make sure I got into each nook and cranny. How I did it with no phone or music, quietly, for weeks. They remark on how I switched a dehumidifier on to keep it perfectly dry and ran a hose to a drain before finally, permanently, walking away.

They wonder what went on in my head all that time. But I think that they know. I was carving out more than just a hundred year-old basement. I was making a job in a jobless city, turning a concrete farm back into a spring. I was finding a future where there was none, making peace.

They come up to me and greet me with a smile. They’ve been busy. It’s not a lonely place at all anymore. It’s full of smiling faces, folks working as a team. They’ve got an enormous space, all energetically working. They’ve got railings, stairs, walkways, computer screens, and storage now. They’ve got balconies, basements, and grand ceilings. The place is so big, they’ve got rivers, streets, and bridges.