Mona Lisa smile

A Mona Lisa Smile

  12+   A faded photo, a Mona Lisa smile — a penny for your thoughts, Dad?

An old colour photo of my dad from the 1970s inspired this one-liner piece of microfiction. He had a faraway look in his eyes and a Mona Lisa smile on his much younger face.

As art lovers have done for centuries with Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Mona Lisa, I wondered what my dad was thinking in the photo?

Why was he smiling so subtly? Was it a smile?

Share your fiction on Tall And True


Tall And True is an online showcase and forum for writers, readers and publishers.

Read more: Share Your Fiction

Sobering Selfie

I wanted to use the faded photo of my dad in the microfiction. After all, it was his Mona Lisa smile that inspired the writing. But for the sake of his privacy, I used a doctored selfie instead.

It was sobering staring at the two photos to realise my dad was younger in the 1970s than I am now!

In microfiction or flash fiction, the writer offers a sentence or two, maybe a paragraph, and leaves the before and after narrative, motivation and denouement to the reader's imagination.

So microfiction is like an instant caught in time. Or like a faded photo.

© 2018 Robert Fairhead 

N.B. This piece is also published on my blog at And you might like to read more of my microfiction shared on Tall And True.


Robert Fairhead

A middle-aged dad and dog owner, Robert Fairhead is an editor and writer at Tall And True, and blogs on his eponymous website,

His favourite pastimes include reading and writing, walking his dog, and watching Aussie Rules Football with his son. He is also a part-time dog trainer and runs classes at his local dog training club and through Robert's Responsible Dog Training.

Robert has worked as an electrician, a computer programmer, and a sales and marketing consultant, and he is the principal copywriter at Rocher Communications.

His book reviews and writing on dogs have appeared in newspapers and online. And in 2020, he published a collection of short stories, Both Sides of the Story.

Robert has also enjoyed a one-night stand as a stand-up comic.