CIRCULAR LANDSCAPES • by Alexandria Mansfield

The burning golden ball creeps over the olive-colored tree line.

Except this landscape isn’t linear. It’s circular.

The landscape of his eyes when he spares a glance my way is an all-consuming black-hole encompassed by the yellow of his orbs shaded with a green that I didn’t know existed in the natural world until I met this man.

This man who thinks he’s so plain, and maybe he is. What’s so special about him other than the way I look at him?

“Cze??,” I whisper against his exposed chest where I rest my chin. The world seems so still right now, and I’m just hoping he can’t tell that I have completely fallen inside of his eyes. They’re terribly distracting, but I doubt he knows that.

Edmund smiles like he always does when I try to speak his language. Shaking his head, he says good morning in English.

I doubt he will ever understand why I am trying to learn Polish. It’s so useless to me, and we both know it, but it’s a separation and I hate it.

If I could break down every language barrier and each miscommunication in the world, I would do it.

He rolls over in the bed, slips away from me, and turns on the light. A dim pink color bounces off the peeling, rose-printed wallpaper of the $80 motel room.

The spot he left at my side becomes instantly cold, and I want to beg him to come back but my tongue can’t move. It’s paralyzed by the image of his walking out the door.

That stupid door with the white paint chipping off taunted me. It threatened to sever yet another one of the few connections between the two of us.

Each moment that passed was another danger to our existence together.

“Don’t go home,” I say before I can stop myself. I watch as his bare back goes stiff, his spine a slightly protruding lightning rod just imploring to be struck so he could be rid of me.

Edmund doesn’t face me. He just sighs. “I can’t stay.”

“But you could.” And it’s too much. I went too far.

If he could describe me in five words, the first three would be pushy. The fourth would be lovesick.

He held my hand once and I didn’t wash it for a week.

Is held the right word? Maybe he just wrapped his slender fingers around my limb or maybe he crawled into my bones, slitting my skin and ignoring the way my blood slid down his hand like decorative crimson ribbons at Christmastime.

Christmastime.

I know he won’t be here when the seasons change. I get just this one summer with him. But how am I going to go back to reality when the man who smiled with my blood on his hands is gone?

Will he be taking my blood with him or will I be the one keeping him in my veins?

“You could stay with me.” I know he wants to stay here. It’s all he ever talks about. I know the appeal of that little green chunk of cardboard that could give him a new life.

“I know,” he says, finally turning around. I am hidden under the comforter even though the heat of it is suffocating me. Beads of sweat roll down my back. It is supposed to reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit today, and I’m sure it must be getting close to that already. I don’t dare remove the sheets that cover me though. I can only let him see me in the dark or while intoxicated. Preferably both.

The skin of my face is the only flesh in sight.

Somehow I am still more vulnerable than the bare man in front of me.

“Marriage is for love. It isn’t a tool.”

“We could fall in love,” I counter.

Those beautiful eyes do more than simply “pierce my soul.” They impale it. They murder it with multiple stab wounds. I stare back even though it makes me uncomfortable. My eyes are sponges — soaking up the dismayed curve of his lips, the minuscule scar on his cheek, the roughness of his calloused hands – I memorize each part of him until I am confused about why he is still standing in front of me.

Whether he even believes it to be a possibility or not, I know Edmund doesn’t want to fall in love with me.

The Polish man shakes his head again, and walks away once more. He mutters one word under his breath before letting the bathroom door fall to separate us.

The fifth word he uses to describe me. Samotny. Lonely.


Alexandria Mansfield is a writer from Pennsylvania where she attends university for a degree in journalism. She writes personal experiences with a twist of fiction.


Like what we do? Be a Patreon supporter.

Rate this story:
 average 3 stars • 34 reader(s) rated this

Every Day Fiction