The Safest Period in Human History


Pichchenda Bao


You can really get used to anything. Probably even waking up one morning to find that now we all bear every wound. Bullets, blades, blunt force, all the broken bits of the world blooming under our shirts, pants, underwear turned wet-stiff with red and iron. Bloody smears on doorknobs, faucet handles track our every move, trampling the ground into a crimson muck. The drains no longer work. We grip each other, our children especially, but blood slicks across our skin when we wipe away the tears.  We can barely see. Wait, this is really too much. We are all good people. We don’t know what happened. In the old days, there was a flood, an ice age, an asteroid, a plague, a world war even, to clean house. You never saw it coming. Are we supposed to live like this now? How will we teach our children the difference between good and evil? I mean, everyone has bloodied hands. Then again, we should never discount human ingenuity. Somebody will design special gloves. We’ll make the necessary accommodations. Acceptance can be as simple as opening a window to air out a closed room. The blood will dry slowly in impasto layers.  We will become accustomed to that peculiar hot saltiness on our palate. What will we call it—healing or the blood price for our fleeting comfort on this incomparable earth, our only home?