A Short Short Story by Mir Yashar Seyedbagheri
When I’m seven, Nancy calls me baby brother. I’m trying to follow her to the movies.
I want to step out of pudgy feet.
When I’m twelve, I’m still baby brother, even though I’m writing my first stories.
I ask why she calls me that. Nancy laughs. It’s my duty.
Same when I’m going to college. But there’s a sense of being in those words. A compass point. I’m not just a name.
When I’m twenty-six, I publish a book.
My baby brother’s Dostoevsky.
Among agents, emptiness, those words echo like bells.
I beg her to call me that often.
Flash Fiction by Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri
Mama’s absorbed in metaphors. Bully beat me. Do you love me? Thinking, darling. Should my protagonist be drunk? Emotionally distant?
Do you love me?
Sister Nancy plays precision. Do you love me? Missed a note. Teacher called me dummkopf. Tears rise. Not now. She flicks a hand.
No one’s hugged me in months. Years. I feel rage, sorrow. Imagine myself withdrawing. Turning into a writer, a pianist, a lawyer, thinking, thinking.
One night, I take blank pages, scrawl a line from The Great Dictator. Leave them on Nancy’s piano, Mother’s typewriter.
We think too much, but feel too little.