Kristy Ockunzzi-Kmit is a fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi author from Cleveland, OH. She is also an artist, spending her free time painting and sculpting. Happily married to composer Mark Kmit and mother to one very imaginative teenager.
My Father, the Enigma
Two years ago, my father died. Technically speaking, his passing was sudden -- but if you ask me, he had been impatiently waiting for his final breath from the very second his mother had taken hers. He made it two years and one day short of her birthday, and I’m convinced he left so abruptly because he couldn’t bring himself to sit through one more of her birthdays without her. Cancer was what eventually took him, and true to form it was a very rare, aggressive, and difficult-to-detect manifestation of the disease -- only something obscure would do, after all, for the man who repeatedly claimed his diabetes was not real and, instead, must have actually been something that science had not yet discovered.
The River's Gift
The bark stung Ben’s hands as he dug furiously into soggy, clay-thick soil, the edges of his makeshift shovel crumbling away in rough splinters. Occasional raindrops were testing his patience with their staccato threats, each one a warning that the storm would be upon him soon.
A Window in Cleveland
There is a place that whispers, hidden edges in the din, Unseen by eyes focused tightly, squinting on patterns bleak, oppressive, looming,
Bird in Hand
Rosie dotingly brushed her timeworn fingers over the letter, admiring the fine linen feel, the careful cursive, even the unsteady hand behind the tiny bird drawn in the lower right corner. She had read it at least once a day, and could recite it word for word, but one line illuminated her spirit more than any.
Growing up, my family decorated Easter eggs like many modern families do: We bought the Paas-brand dye pucks, set up a line of cups, and let our hard-boiled eggs sit in their color baths until we felt they had achieved a pleasant hue. Occasionally, we would bust out the crayons and put family members’ names or little drawings on them before dipping, or if we were feeling adventurous we’d carefully stretch rubber bands around them to achieve stripes. For the most part, however, they were simple and easy enough to complete in a few hours on the night before Easter. And good thing, too, because as soon as the eggs went back into the refrigerator, the inevitable condensation would cause the dyes to pucker and run. It was, at best, a fun way to spend a single evening together; at worst, it heralded several days’ worth of multicolored egg salad sandwiches.
Farmer, Dishwasher, Millionaire
Imagine, for a moment, that you’re on your way to dine at one of the world’s best restaurants. Maybe you’re going to Mirazur, entranced by the glamorous French Riviera and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. Or, possibly, you’ve chosen Lima’s Central, and you’re ready to experience an adventure through Peru via the restaurant’s elevation-inspired tasting menu. Or perhaps you’ve been hearing about René Redzepi on shows like Chef’s Table, Ugly Delicious, or Parts Unknown, so you’re off to Noma in Copenhagen to see what this New Nordic cuisine is all about.
The air in my parents’ attic carried the scent of our family, of decades spent in the house built on what had once been an orchard. It was the must of old books, the brightness of elderflower tonic, the funk of cucumbers pickling in the kitchen. It was the condensed aroma of our life together, and I would have bottled it if I could have. Sitting on the unfinished wooden floor, surrounded by my father’s possessions, I struggled to keep my mind from wandering through days gone past. Mementos from events I hadn’t thought about in years passed from their cardboard prisons into my hands and then to their assigned piles, sometimes with ease, sometimes only through the grace afforded me after several minutes of pondering.
Bridging the Close-Quarters Gap
In our house, we do everything as a family. Or, at least, we try to.