by Laura Besley
It’s everywhere. It’s there when I close my eyes to go to sleep at night. It’s in my dreams. It’s the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. It’s stenciled onto my retina, overlaying all the good memories I have of my daughter. It’s there when I recall her body with bruises in all the wrong places. That smile is everywhere.
That it-wasn’t-me smile; that I-know-people-in-high-places smile; that released-due-to-inconclusive-evidence smile.
The same smile I saw fade just before I cut it from his face.
At home, I pull down my daughter’s childhood worry box and blow the dust off the lid which curls and dances in the quiet of her room. I open the lid and without looking at the faded notes in her child-like scrawl, put the smile inside. ‘All gone,’ I whisper, just like I always did, and put the box back on the shelf.
Laura Besley writes short fiction, which given the current situation and amount of children at home is useful. Her latest hobby is home-schooling, something she’s not sure she’ll ever master. Her fiction has appeared online, as well as in print and in various anthologies. Her flash fiction collection, The Almost Mothers, was published in March 2020. She tweets @laurabesley