Sympathy

Sympathy
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 So this afternoon the devil appeared to me. I was smoking on the balcony when I caught this whiff of sulfur. I turned around and sure enough there he was, leaning up against the railing and smirking at me. He looked kind of like Johnny Thunders, all tight jeans and tousled hair, but his eyes were mismatched blue and green like Bowie. And he was wearing your leather jacket.

 

 Babe, you called me. He crooned softly. I couldn’t help it. I walked towards him, stopping an inch away and fingering the buttons carefully affixed to his lapels. He was, indeed, incarnate. He looked down at me, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear like an ex-lover. In fact, I think you may have summoned me…He smirked, raising an eyebrow.

 

Twice last night. Again in the shower this morning. All my adolescent fantasies. Witching hours spent staring holes into the black and white posters of boys with sneers and electric guitars. Willing them to come to life and sing to me and me alone. My feverish libido imprinting their images deep in my psyche. Priming me for that moment, late in my 20s, when a boy clad in head-to-toe black walked up to me in the worst dive in town and started holding my hand, like it was the most natural thing in the world, and said

 

You called me.

 

I think it happened that way anyways. There was a hellish glow, for sure, and blood on my lips. Your cock was hard, that much I remember. The light of a single red bulb in a makeshift warehouse bedroom with a record spinning like the circles of the underworld.  But who dares speak of hell in the presence of Teenage Kicks?

 

“I don’t think he’s fucking anyone else.” Your roommate told me.

“All he ever does these days is sit there with his record collection, writing in his diary.”

 

The devil fished it out of your jacket with long slender fingers, eyeing me curiously and holding it out for inspection. That battered cardboard cover, marbled black and white, its edges beginning to soften and disintegrate from constant use. The black tape binding along the spine almost discolored. It was still warm to the touch. I brought it up to my face and sniffed it. I knew it was really yours because it still bore the faintest traces of your smell, just enough to get me tipsy. I held it like I was holding your heart, and for a minute everything seemed to vibrate. I confess: I did in fact consider it, but I swear to you I did not crack those pages open. I pushed it back into his hands, stared at the ground dancing in front of me, and when I looked up he was gone.

 

There are some things I don’t want to know.

About Ruth Crossman

Ruth Crossman is an ESL teacher by day and a writer by night who lives in Oakland, California. Her work has appeared in Dryland Lit, Full of Crow, and Lockjaw.

Ruth Crossman is an ESL teacher by day and a writer by night who lives in Oakland, California. Her work has appeared in Dryland Lit, Full of Crow, and Lockjaw.

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