Smiley Number Three

The house around the corner with the white smiley in front of it. The face is droopy. Another, blue, against the concrete; supposed to be symmetrical I think. A town so depressing people have to draw smiley faces below them to feel better. And as I was walking back today, I guess it works.

When the sun went down, I drew a circle with a stick of pink chalk. I picked the color of a tree in a better place. My circle came out looking like half of a drunken peanut with two dots on the top. I thought about the line for the smile and I went back inside.

The next day I saw that someone had drawn yellow arrows connecting the droopy circle to the other, and that one to mine. They completed my face with a smile that’s not my own. And even though the chalk is no longer there, I still walk the redundant path backwards on my way every morning, and forwards every afternoon. I know I’m almost home when I get to smiley number three.

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He's the author of the fiction collection, Crushes, and is a literary editor. He also works at a law firm and is writing his second book. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University.

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