Martina sat agitated under the oppression of the Mississippi river. Her blood boiled in the August night, but not specifically from heat. An American named Frank joined her table at the café by the rolling, muddy river. He made small talk and sounded like a Yankee. Frank’s interest in Martina escalated when her French accent touched the air. He studied her face in the syrupy setting sun and how she carried her head and the shine of her chestnut hair with strands jumping loose in the heat.
She winced at his harsh English spewed forth to bait her with conversation about the history of the Louisiana Purchase and whether or not Napoleon did a disservice to France by giving up the port of New Orleans. Frank’s tone was condescending and vile as if he single-handedly supported the acquisition on his shoulders when he wasn’t even an embryonic thought at the turn of the 18th century. His arrogance made Martina livid. She cut him with her tongue and the sharp corners of her knowledge about the dealings of her own country. Both of them were overheated in patriotism.
By the time the fireflies arrived, they were silent and breathing heavy in the dark. Martina wanted to send him to the guillotine. Frank felt like he held the ability to deport her opinions to his back pocket, invoking John Adams' Alien Act. He was unsure why he found his lips on hers and even more puzzled she allowed it.