I play Santa the year after Dad leaves. I’m fifteen. Older sister Nancy and Mother insist.
I try to make his suit fit. It’s too wide, lanky body invading another man’s space. Spaces rife with mystery and Dad’s inner thoughts, concealed.
I can’t even do Dad’s booming voice.
I think of the act of leaving, taking furniture, leaving rooms and platitudes about being constrained. Is it a woman? Does he hate us, witty Nancy, sweet Mother? Nerdy, stumbling me?
I burn the suit, flames painful, numb. Run my hands over flames. Mother and Nancy pull me away.
I’ve already seen everything.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program in fiction. His story, "Soon," was nominated for a Pushcart. Yash’s stories are forthcoming or have been published in Café Lit, Mad Swirl, 50 Word Stories, and Ariel Chart, among others.