The Bottomless Pit
Updated: Nov 25, 2020
I have a problem with the present, as you can see. It’s a footrace with the second hand of a clock. And to further complicate things, there’s memory. We exist because we remember ourselves existing. That time as a child, going too fast on my bike, I spun out on loose gravel. I remember the air rushing past my face as I plunged over the handlebars. Then the dust on my bare leg as the crimson burst through the gray; my flesh scraped off with pebbles stuck to the open wound. And I held back the tears and rode home, my leg burning as I pedaled. Then the look on my mother’s face when she saw me. It was only then that I cried. She gave me permission. Her eyes, filled with such love and acceptance. How can such an enormous thing blaze across such a small horizon as two eyes looking out? A look that was not there five minutes before. The moments can be astounding! And she bathed my leg in warm water as the red dust washed away. She put on the medicine and bandage, and kissed my forehead. But then the coda in a minor key. Those same eyes intoned, “We won’t tell father.” (Because crying was not allowed. Even in retrospect.) How quickly the moment passed, of love replaced with dread. How potent is dread compared to happiness, as the one continues unrelenting while the other dissipates in the wind like ash and bone. I think of sorrow. We're alone here amidst the madding crowd's ignoble strife. And all our darkness is life's gift. To not succumb or implode or crumble beneath the notion of how things should be. Take the pain like a piece of parchment and wrap it around a stone. Then release it into the bottomless pit.
The above excerpt is from Kevin Kunundrum's new novel, Blood of the Sun. The photograph is also by KK.