Mother decides to wear a smile for Halloween. She wants to go trick-or-treating because adults need some damn candy.
I’m seventeen. I can’t argue. I think Mother wants some small indulgence she doesn’t have to explain.
After Dad, I can’t blame her.
Mother rehearses her smile.
First time, it’s too sharp. The second, third, and fourth times, the smile’s rife with sorrow.
I tell Mother she’s beautiful. Something Dad said once, a rarity.
Then I mention how I envy her artistic gifts.
She smiles again. This time the smile’s crooked.
I say I love her.
The smile’s widening.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His story, “Soon,” was nominated for a Pushcart. Yash has also had work nominated for Best of the Net and The Best Small Fictions. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.