The following submission appeared in “We Are Newton: A Neighbourhood Anthology.” See here for more information about the project.
By: Brendan Borba
There is a place that exists just after the final stop.
It is neither too far to be separate nor close enough to belong. Often overlooked but never forgotten: It is a place where the boulevard still feels like a highway and the City of Parks lives up to its name. The affluent keep themselves a farm’s length away while the disenfranchised get more attention elsewhere. Not rich enough to be admired, not poor enough to be pitied: it is a place where those in suits return home at the end of the day while those in boots leave for the night.
It is a place where green pastures meet rolling hills of gentrification, where progress is moving it forward while simultaneously leaving it behind. More roads. More houses. More people. More life. Not enough schools. Not enough transit. Not enough investment. Not enough of a life.
It is a dark shade of grey on a dreary day.
But tucked away, hidden from sight is a most wonderful green. There is no shortage of it—if only one knows where to look. Like lost treasures, they peek out from behind office buildings and lurk just past abandoned lots. Those who only look in at this place do not see the green.
Oh, the people who do nothing but look in on this place. They fear it. They fail to understand it. It worries them, but not quite enough to care. They see police tape on dark nights. They see lost souls on stolen bikes. They see strip malls and suburban blight.
But as the sun sets over the skylines of nearer, greater places, is it not the same sun that sets on this place, over the roofs of working class homes? Is that sunset any less beautiful?
For in this place, it isn’t the cookie cutter homes, but the diversity of those who live within. It is the fragrant scent of distant foods that smell just like home. It is where those who live cannot afford indifference towards those who cannot. It is where they have a chance at the life they want, not the life those who look in want for them.
And that is a luxury afforded because those who look in will never come in. For here the soil of life is left unwanted and untouched. And rest assured, left alone long enough, beautiful things will grow.
There is a place called Newton.
This place is home.