I asked Mother if she loved me. Mother said love didn’t pay the bills, not even for vampires. She said it with a sad pause.
She taught American and European literature (except for Dracula). Wrote stories. Took me to school. She wore a clipped smile, except when telling awkward jokes about dead poets, sucking blood from hemophiliacs with reluctance, and the number of Van Helsings she’d sparred with.
One night, I found paper in her typewriter. Written was the following:
I never had a mother. Vampires with mothers are rarities. I want to ensure your strength.
Love need not be spoken.
My response: I love you.
She stepped up the jokes. The paper disappeared.
But her smile widened. Sometimes she laughed when watching The Munsters in secret, head tossed back. I carried that for years.
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.