Contributor: Kristina England

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Jamie pushed her way into the booth, her legs squeaking against the plastic.
Henry smiled.
"It was the cushion," she said, playing with her bracelet.
"It was..."
"I'm messing with you. Relax..."
"I am relaxed."
"I hate it when you do that!"
"Oh boy... Here we go again."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You can't handle a joke. That's what it means."
Jamie's face fell.
Henry shook his head.
"This is exactly why I broke up with you. You are way too emotional."
"Oh, I can't stand it when you use that word. What do you expect when you say something that hurts?"
"I don't know what's going to hurt and what's not. I have to think way too much before I talk. It's exhausting..."
"I'm sorry... I can do better."
"I used to believe that... I mean, I still do... I just don't think you believe it enough."
Jamie ran her finger along the silver bracelet. She felt Henry scooting out of the bench.
"By the way, you look cute in polka dots," he said.
She looked down at her dress as if to remind herself what she was wearing. She could feel him hovering.
"I forgot you hate compliments," he said, the words jabbing her.
Jamie listened to his footsteps, the sound of the bell over the diner door.
"Thanks," she said. "I bought this dress especially for you."

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Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her writing is published or forthcoming in Gargoyle, Short, Fast, and Deadly, Yellow Mama, and other magazines.
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