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  Table of contents Issue Ten MUSE



n the waning dusk, I glanced at what I'd filled in the night before. My son stared beside me, pensive, but I could feel his thoughts wandering towards the pen and pad in my hand. I knew he wanted to ask his questions, but those were the things which bored me. So I patted his back, before heading in.

From my room I waited, beside a cracked window, well into the bowers of dusk, until the scrapes of a shovel could be heard. Moments later, I could hear him struggling with the dirt.

My patience had paid off with the next dramatic pause, marking the discovery of something wonderful. Childish warmth, so familiar, coursed through my cheeks as I ran to the porch; but I drove it away, feigned disinterest before the lights flickered on. There, in the glow of the artificial, kneeled my canvas, still unraveling the twine which bound the tarp.

I watched unfold upon his face an array of Rorschach cards, fossilized matrix of instincts I could never have excavated, had I not done what I did. And yet how natural it was, in spite of it all!

I wish I had another. His ignorance was a gift that fled, that careless blend of dread and denial from a child who hadn’t yet been blemished with the pus of my paint. And so, as he rapidly approached with tears staining flesh, as he beat at my legs, still opting to scream at the decision itself, I scrambled to record my observations. Frantically I lifted him to my chest, my own heart bleeding, studying as much as I could before the disappointment settled, and his eyes became dull.

Then it was over. And once again, I’d found it indescribable. In the end, all I had accomplished were some recycled adjectives, one or two worthless metaphors.

However, as I carried him back in, as we settled into the kitchen to brew some cocoa, and as I watched him, still struggling to sort out his own father’s actions; I realized, with renewed optimism, that I loved my son just as much as he loved his dog.




Philip Kuan is an aspiring writer from Northern California, with a friendly interest in befuddling readers with interesting stories. Some of his favorite authors include Charles Dickens, Tolkien, and Franz Kafka, among others. He has been published in several short story anthologies, and is always looking for constructive feedback from potential readers. His website can be found at philkuan.wordpress.com.

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