By Grant Stone
When you spend a good number of years mowing an Auckland lawn you learn a thing or two. Like how quickly things grow. Grass, sure, but the weeds too. Skip a week or two and you have a jungle on your hands. Wait a month and you might want to skip the lawnmower and drive straight down to Hiretown for a chainsaw.
But you can’t complain. Drive an hour or so out of town and get out of your car. Walk for just a few minutes and you can really feel nature pressing in on you. You might think about friends and loved ones. The scar tissue of old arguments you lost, or worse, won for the wrong reasons.
You might think, as you often do, about the multiverse and the infinite alternative Yous. You wonder who they are and where their timelines diverged from yours. Are they millionaires? Priests? Flying around the Solar System in a Zeppelin, eye-patched and moustachioed, a tame white tiger curled at their feet? Or are they the same as you in every way but one. Some small decision made differently, some tiny action. Just the slightest movement of your hand, from where it rests at your side, up and out, to wrap around a throat and squeeze, and hold it there a while.
Before too long you’re dripping in sweat and your left knee, the one you munted when you were training for Round the Bays a few years back starts complaining. Tanē might have pushed Rangiui and Papatūānuku apart but on a hot day under grey clouds, deafened by the buzzing of cicadas, you might remember that he didn’t push them all that far. So you head back to the car and set the air conditioning to maximum cold and wait until the radio plays something good.
And after a while you sing along.