The black bowl rested in stark contrast between his pale lithe hands. He let his fingers rub against the glossy sheen, tracing the smooth groves the he had created. He cradled the bowl in his arms as he made his way to his kitchen, where his tools were already set in place on the table. He set down his bowl and smiled when he noticed the clutter of toys just to the side of the table. He set the bowl down and carefully slid the toys to the side.

Once he sat down, he plucked up the small tool with a thin square- shaped blade at the end of it. Tilting the tool slightly he began to cut small markings into the bowl. He dragged the tool along the bowl’s surface; making various patterns. At just fifteen minutes into his carving, he could feel small hands pull at his pants. He looked down to smile at his son. The small black haired toddler gazed up at him.

“I want to play,” the small child said simply. He sat the bowl down to pat the child on his head.

“In just a moment. I’m almost done,” he said. The child puffed out his cheeks in agitation but stalked away to the living room. He shook his head with the small smile still on his face. He etched away against the bowl for another hour or so. He let out a sigh of relief after he flicked his wrist for the last time as he finished the final pattern. He stood up, but before he could fully get out of his chair, the young toddler ran toward him, a sand bucket on his head and oven mitts on his hands. He ran around his father as the man tried to regain his footing. The father set his bowl down and scooped the toddler up.

The toddler giggled in his father’s arms, kicking his feet all the while. The young boy’s foot brushed against the table hard enough to knock the bowl over. Both father and son stilled completely, glancing down at the shattered pieces. Tears welled in the toddler’s eyes as he looked at his father.

“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice strained with unshed tears. The man stared at the pieces before he let out a small laugh. He set the toddler down on the floor away from the shards. He went to the cabinet in his kitchen. He came back with glue and gold lacquer. He sat down and then pat his lap. The toddler ran up and scrambled into his lap.

“Help me put these pieces together,” he said. He glued the pieces that the toddler brought together.

“It’s like a puzzle,” he said with a smile. Once the pieces were together the pair looked at the bowl. The cracks were still apparent. The toddler frowned.

“It’s ugly,” he said. The father rustled the boy’s hair.

“Look,” he started. He picked up the lacquer and began to fill the cracks. The pair sat patiently as it dried. The father then sanded down the perturbing lacquer until it was flat and smooth against the bowl. The boy’s eyes widened as he stared at the bowl. The original black sheen was now accented with jagged lines of gold.

“It’s so cool,” he said, running his small fingers along the bowl. The father smiled and rested his chin on top of the toddler’s head.

“Yes its. And you helped me do that,” he said.

“All I did was break it,” came the boy’s solemn reply.

“It’s not always about how you start,” the fathers said. He wrapped his arms around his son in a loose hug. He stayed like that as he looked around at his humble home. The small kitchen connected to the living room separated only by a thin gold marker; making a contrast between tile and hardwood flooring. The toddler’s hands were on the bowl. He gently brought his hands up to let his fingers brush against the bowl as well as he cupped his son’s hands.

“It’s not always about how you start. What matters most his how you finish,” he said. He let his finger trace the gold of the lacquer. “Hardships and all.”


I just wanted to make an aesthetic piece about kinstugi. It’s a very beautiful practice. I hope you enjoyed this short story!


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