Things I Received

Last Christmas, I received:

A six-pack of Budweiser, with a note from Dad. Start young, preempt disappointment.

An arched eyebrow. Muttered menace when I didn’t thank him.

Another story about Mom and how I had the same hazel eyes. He hoped that was all she’d left me.

“You leave me too,” he joked, “and I’ll know I failed or else the world just has a weird sense of humor. And I got stuck with a bunch of capital-R Romantics.”

I also received the latest rent and job termination notices to burn.

What else did I receive for Christmas?

Another viewing of Bad Santa. Dad and I laughed at Billy Bob Thornton smashing an alarm clock, sliding up an escalator drunk, and kicking a fake donkey. Dad said Billy Bob messed up his life with style, at least.

“I just get drunk teaching,” Dad said. “I can’t cause any real damage. They just damage me instead.”

The last thing I got?

Christmas wisdom. Dad couldn’t explain why we kept losing. He told me to be something. A writer. A real writer dissected and confronted the world.

Each word was fervent, cracked, crumpled.

I took them before they crumpled more.

© Yash Seyedbagheri 2020

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program. His stories, ”Soon,”  “How to Be a Good Episcopalian,” and ”Tales from a Communion Line,” were nominated for Pushcarts. Yash’s work  has been published in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Write City Magazine, and Ariel Chart, among others.