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by Davena O’Neill

The wisp of smoke gets carried on the breeze, flame with it. Cupping her hands Sally lights another.

Ed is due back to collect his things; she’ll be long gone before then.

“You left me first,” he’d said, through cigarette haze and jutted jaw, car idling for his quick getaway.

“How’d you figure that?”

“You stopped feeling the way you used to. About me,” he added, as if she needed clarification.

“Right, that’s the exact same as fucking Marsha on your lunchbreak.”

“I reckon it’s worse,” he said, so quietly she felt rather than heard the words, clear as a slap. His taillights blinked like rat eyes in the ditch.

He’d been right, in a way, even though he didn’t know how close she’d come to leaving or why she’d stayed.

Nothing had happened between her and Sam, nothing physical anyway. All long looks and longing, a fingertip touch passing by, whispered promises and slow smiles. Day dreams of what could be, years wondering what might have been.

Two blue lines stopped one future with the promise of another. Red stained sheets had torn them all apart.

Sally strikes the match. The crib made perfect kindling, Ed’s belongings a blazing bonfire to light her way. Without looking back, Sally hits the open road, future brightened by her past in flames.

Davena O’Neill writes about moments, the small everyday events that shape us. She is a published writer of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories, and lives in Kerry, Ireland.