Where Tourists Don’t Go

MASON SPOTS THE Downtown Little Catholic Chapel during his first month in Texas. “Look at that,” he says out loud and tugs at Robin’s hand. But Robin sees the train ahead and tugs harder in the opposite direction. Mason looks back at his discovery. The so-called chapel is connected to the buildings beside it, like chapels in so many American downtowns—a CVS on one side, a bakery with a cartoon of a baker making an OK sign on the other. Not even a stand-alone, it can’t really be a Catholic chapel at all, Mason thinks, as he and Robin board the Houston Metro without purchasing their fare. They sit toward the front and try to act natural. The conductor doesn’t come aboard to check anyone’s ticket.

Mason is an architect, and he has always wanted to be an architect. He works for a large firm that promoted him with this transfer from New York to Houston. He’s good at what he does, and his new employers seem to like him—they smile at him a lot. He doesn’t join the other guys for happy hour on Fridays, and he only smiles and says thank you when the women ask him to join them. He’s never been a bar kind of guy, but Mason is good-looking, and Americans croon over his Jamaican accent, so passing on women is harder, but of course there’s Robin now.

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