Shillings and Smiles
by Yash Seyedbagheri
After the accident, they store my sister Nancy’s coin collection in small, ceramic cups. Compartmentalizing things.
Eras and countries clash. Shillings with King George V lie on top of old pennies with Queen Victoria and rubles with Nicholas II’s bearded countenance. Buffalo nickels and wheat pennies mix.
Nan arranged everything in containers, labeled by decade, country, denomination.
“History in the making, little brother,” she said. “Imagine who might have carried that old English penny, for example. Maybe a pauper in Victorian London. Or a debauched socialite.”
She only smiled when she arranged coins, although she told me dirty jokes and helped me with my English homework. We often spent time on the coins when they were fighting, each clink drowning out the distribution of faults.
One night, I remove the coins. Reassemble them in their boxes.
It’s hard to assemble the past.
But I feel Nan smile with each coin falling into place.
You can’t compartmentalize that.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program in fiction. His story, "Soon," was nominated for a Pushcart. Yash has also had work nominated for Best of the Net and The Best Small Fictions. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.
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