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Terminus Penn Stewart

In the plaza, we sit and talk. My eyes follow the diagonal lines formed by slate tiles as they cut across the order of the brick pavement. I follow the pattern like Magellan, hoping to return to the origin, but I keep getting lost, diverted. “You never listen,” she says. “What?” I ask, hoping for a smile. “See? You never take things seriously.” “I thought I didn’t listen.” “Don’t be such a jerk. You heard what I said but tried to make a joke out it instead of listening to me.” Her eyes latch onto mine. She does this when she’s really angry. I decide it’s best to shut up and listen, though perhaps I should speak. I should say how I love how her hair tickles my face when I hold her in bed, how the nape of her neck begs kisses, how her laugh triggers my smile, how her eyes see all of me, even the parts I try to lock away. “You just don’t care. Do you?” “I’m listening.” “Stop mocking me.” “Really.” “You do this all the time. I don’t know if I should take you seriously or not. If I do and you’re joking, I look like a fool. If I don’t and you’re earnest, I’m an ass. There’s just no winning with you.” She says I’m like a lock with tumblers that shift each time it’s used. A key might work once, but there’s no guarantee that it’ll work a second time. “I can change,” I say. “Exactly. That’s the problem.” We sit there and watch people traverse the plaza for a while. Young couples walk arm in arm, mothers push strollers with toddlers in tow, tourists mug for selfies in front of


Iron Horse Literary Review

IHLR 2018 PhotoFinish