Reading Time: 4 minutes read

I spit a mouthful of toothpaste into the sink and smiled at the mirror. My reflection smiled back—a big, toothy grin. I ran my tongue over my clean teeth, then put the toothbrush away and headed out. 

For the first time in a long while, I wasn’t running late. I checked my watch. 8:42 A.M. Still plenty of time, even if traffic backed up. 

Adaline of the front desk greeted me. “Morning, Arthur.”

“Morning, Adaline.” I headed toward the elevator before she could wrangle any small talk out of me. 

A full-length mirror lined the hall, trimmed at the top and bottom with gold, floral swirls. I caught a glimpse of myself. My reflection smiled back—a big, toothy grin.

I blinked and it was gone. 

My first stop was the breakroom. The coffee filter had been filled, but no one bothered to turn it on. “Don’t worry, I’ll get it,” I said to the empty room. I flicked the switch. 

A full ten minutes later, I had my cup of fresh, stale coffee and made my way over to my desk.

“Morning, Arthur.” Desmond waved at me from his desk. I grunted a response and sat down. My desk was too close to his, so I scooted back and pulled it closer. 

Desmond must have assumed this was some bizarre signal for him to move too, because he scooted his chair forward into his desk and shoved mine forward in the process. My coffee cup fell right into my lap. 

“Gah!” I jumped to my feet and Desmond peeked around his monitor. 

“Sorry, Arthur.”

I waved him off and headed for the bathroom.

I wet some towels and rubbed them on my pants. The stain had already set in and I was soaked through.

My hands reek of coffee and washing them only made them smell like cheap, corporate soap and coffee. I shook my hands over the sink and spied my reflection in the mirror. My reflection smiled back—a big, toothy grin.

It didn’t disappear this time when I blinked. I swiped my hand across the mirror, but the reflection stayed, smiling at me. I don’t have time for this, I thought. I was obviously over-tired. Maybe I should have taken the day off instead. 

I flicked off the bathroom light and went back to work. 

The day ended and I was the first down the elevator and out the door. Everyone filed into the parking lot in their familiar cliques, hanging around to chat. But not me. I jumped in my car, eager to be home already.

I checked my mirrors; he waited in every one of them to greet me. My reflection smiled back—a big, toothy grin. 

I turned the rearview mirror away so I couldn’t see it and did my best to not look at the driver’s side mirror.

I tossed my keys and phone in a random direction as soon as I bounded through the front door. My destination was the bedroom and I moved as fast as my legs could carry me. 

I wrenched open my closet door and stood in front of the full-length mirror. “Alright, you—” I poked the reflection in his chest. My reflection smiled back—a big, toothy grin. 

I couldn’t take it anymore. I snatched up the nearest thing I could—a lamp from my dresser—and smashed it against the mirror. Once to break it and then again when I could still see his grin.

I slid to the floor, defeated. I felt the corners of my mouth turn up and my teeth bared. I slammed my head against the wall until the wall caved and my head hurt. 

I caught my reflection in the lonely, shattered corner of the closet mirror. 

I couldn’t stop smiling.

Prompt: write something where the main character can’t stop smiling.