The Lost Continent of Bezokoz 

by on June 13, 2023 :: 0 comments

photo "What We've Lost and Where We're Found" by Tyler Malone

My young son, Len, asks me whatever happened to the lost continent of Bezokoz. In class, he said, the teacher made a passing comment about it and shrugged off any questions. She said that Bezokoz was nothing more than a footnote, then explained what a footnote was.

He stands before me in the living room, his pajama plaid pants, now the rage among his fifth-grade peers, are hitched above his navel. They’re a size too large. And he remarked that if mom were still here, they’d be a good fit. She knew how to measure. For weeks, he’s been begging me to allow him to have his nipples pierced. He wants to be like somebody else. Don’t we all.

I tell him that Bezokoz was once a very small continent between Asia and Europe before it sunk into the sea, and perhaps, beneath it, as one controversial, often ridiculed,  historian suggested. Many traders and wannabe colonists crossed Bezokoz in search of riches, of gold in its various forms. My son’s jaw goes slack, the way it does when he listens to Selena Gomez on his scratched iPhone.

“But why did it sink?” he asks. My explanation doesn’t satiate him.

I tell him that it sunk under the weight of invaders, bloated with stolen foods, exotic and heavy, and their own hubris. It sunk under the weight of their water buffalo and overfed horses. I tell him that over time, the invaders became so heavy that they could not move and sunk through the soft earth and into underground caves. The darkness and cold and emptiness ultimately devoured them. Not even their hieroglyphs survived. Not even their crude selfies drawn on cave walls.

It’s not true, but for my son, it will do. I tell him to go to bed. He wrinkles his nose as if my explanation is like the one in his textbook, barely one paragraph long. Just a tease.

He shuffles off to bed. I listen to the fading sound of his Dollar Store flip-flops.

Come to think of it, I like to compare Bezokoz to a woman I once valued above anything else, even a continent. Then, I discovered she was cheating. She left me transparent, exposed, emptier than empty. The only trace of her memory is our son, Len. It’s in his eyes, the shape of his small upturned nose. The sparse freckles around his cheeks.

After my wife left, I’d try to console Len, holding his arm, and reassured him that we would be fine. Len turned a deaf ear to me and would not look me in the eye. He would just lie awake in bed, holding his stuffed toy dog, named Pluto. The same name as Mickey Mouse’s dog.

editors note:

It’s not true, not a lick. But we know what we feel: love to pain, pain to hope. And we sink. Forever. And we call it life. ~ Tyler Malone

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