It happened last night, but not for the first time. But there was something about it happening now that seemed different. It was the guilt, I think, that hung around as I locked my mouth in hers in sultry affection, unhooking her bra, my hands finding comfort on her bulbous breasts.

It was the shame hovering over me like the blades of a helicopter waiting to slice my throat as I buried my face in between her laps, listening to her giggling moans. Or perhaps, it was the disappointment, the heavy stench of adultery that stuck onto my skin when I entered her like a demented animal.

We sat outside moments later, opposite a small field where fireflies illuminated the night with shiny green lights. And although we were alone, listening to the humble silence of the night, I felt like a million eyes were on me, like two million hands were pointing out their disgust on me.

When I came for Paul’s wedding, it was never my plan for this thing to happen. But sitting next to Patricia, inhaling the timid scent of her perfume, watching the couple read out their vows in unison brought back memories, realisation that seven years was really a long time to be far from people we love, or rather, people we once loved.

“Beautiful, aren’t they? The fireflies,” Patricia had no atom of discomfort in her voice.

“Yes… Yes.” I said.

Then we fell back into silence.

“It feels just like old times, doesn’t it?” She let out a soft giggle.

“I’m married now,” I muttered.

She took a long drag of the cigarette she was smoking, blew out the smoke as if in a hurry, and smiled as if not surprised.  “I have a daughter too. She’s two.”

“I bet she has your eyes, all those plenty eyebrows.”

Our laughter was loud but short-lived.

“I have someone. Nothing serious but I love him.” She paused. “He wants us to get married but I don’t think I’m ready for that, maybe not yet.”

I looked away from Patricia, gazing at the beautiful army of fireflies, wondering if she too shared this stinking guilt with me.


This story emerged as Wild Card in the 2017 edition of the JB Afenfia Flash Fiction Contest

Written by : Michael Afenfia

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