Literary Fiction friendship memories "flash fiction"

A Whiff of Clove Cigarettes

By Patricia Flaherty Pagan
Nov 23, 2019 · 175 words · 1 minute

Photo by Riccardo Fissore via Unsplash.

From the author: When an old friend dies, how do you hold the memories of the free spirit with whom you laughed and competed?


     A junior girl wearing black eyeliner and crimson lipstick trades quips with me behind Coffee Connection. She can’t be just another Jennifer, so she’s started going by her middle name, Delilah. We’ve burned through the last day of school, and she offers me clove cigarettes as a peace offering. Delilah tells me she might get tickets to OMD, but doesn’t mention sleeping with the stoner from drama class with the soulful brown eyes, even though we both know she is. I don’t mention that I like him, even though we both know I do. He’s crushing us by pulling a Kerouac, ditching the mall-pocked suburbs twenty-four hours after his graduation to look for the sharp colors of life. I think I will never see him again. And that I need better lipstick.

     Twenty-seven years later, I read a woman named Jennifer’s obituary on-line. Cancer slays.

     I think I will never see her again. I catch a faint whiff of clove cigarettes. Her scent lingers, almost tactile, but just out of reach.