Visual Fiction is back, although I’m sure most people did not realize it was gone. This is a story based on a picture that I took myself. The point was originally for other people to take the picture and write their own story as well, although not many have. Still, you are more than welcome to write your own story if the mood strikes you. This story is dedicated to my dad and mom, since I think they’ll like it.
taken in Jeonju, Korea
The Sun Blossom
What do you do with something so wonderful, so precious that finding it is the highlight of a lifetime?
Rex found the sun blossom when he was going out to drown himself. It wasn’t because of one big thing–no divorce or financial catastrophe–just years of tiny negatives that built up like a black hole under him, undermining all his hopes. He planned on walking into Carson’s Bay and not coming out, until he saw the sun blossom, shining with the unbearable intensity of the tiny star that it was. The impossibility of something that marvelous existing, while at the same time being without a doubt right in front of him was shocking. It hit him like a sledgehammer of hope, right in the heart. He could almost hear the shower of tarry despair tinkle down all around him. He had to take the sun blossom with him, so he carefully dug it up and carried it home, getting second-degree burns all over his face in the process.
He took pictures, video, even called his friends over to see. No one believed him, of course. “Fake,” they said. “Photoshopped, clearly.” They even called it fake when they were looking at it with their own eyes, which confused Rex a bit. After a while, he stopped telling people.
It was like nothing he had ever seen before, so otherworldly, yet so comforting; so perfect, yet so fierce and wild at the same time. He left the plant in a pot on his window sill one day and came back to find the house burned down. All that was left was the sun blossom, still glowing in its pot and surrounded by a house-worth of ash and soot. Rex was a little perturbed, but the sun blossom was unharmed, so what was one house compared to that, really?
He loved it and never wanted to leave it anywhere, but at the same time, he felt bad for keeping it all to himself. Finally, he went down by Carson’s Bay and built a shack out of driftwood and replanted the sun blossom by the shore. He put an ad in the local paper: “Want to commit suicide? Carson’s Bay is a great place!” A few people showed up and then more and more. Some days there was a line of potential suicides twenty people long, coming down to the bay past Rex and the sun blossom. Not one of them made it to the water but more than a few hugged him with tears in their eyes and thanked him for his ad.
The sun blossom soon became big news. People in expensive suits began showing up at Rex’s shack, offering him endorsement deals for the use of the sun blossom in their ads (“Drink Redbull! You’ll glow like the sun blossom!”) The city adopted it as their symbol. Some people began claiming it cured cancer and athlete’s foot. One person said it whispered the future to him. Rex was sure this was all nonsense. But he didn’t own it; he had only found it. There was a lot of confusion and lots of money being thrust at him, but in the end, Rex stayed in his shack. He talked to anyone that wanted to hear his story and he listened to others’ as well. They met around a fire on the beach and everyone talked and had a good time together. No lies were allowed, just open honesty.
Rex wants me to pass on a message (he ran out of money for newspaper ads). If you’re lost in the darkness of despair and keep banging your nose on unseen walls and stubbing your toes on hidden obstacles, swing by Carson’s Bay. The sun blossom is waiting.