Saturday, January 29, 2022. 50 minutes past 7:00 pm
“I din’t want to appear needy,” she said when I told her I was glad she’d call. And the games people play with themselves, the lies they tell each other to cover their insecurities are topics of conversation in this phone call. But the actual reasons Natasha calls the Devil are intriguing.
“I call bullshit on that,” I said in reply to her claim, “You were playing a game you think you have to play. Pop culture told you about a decade ago, amongst other nonsense, that you had to wait before calling someone back.”
What is problematic about this part of the conversation is that our relationship precedes the playfulness that might have made her “appear needy”. We have known each other for two years and have shared good times before. The intimacy of our last meeting was unexpected given the nature of our dealings but natural in the greater context of things.
I am disgusted by her display of ordinary insecurity in an instance of deplorable self-respect and solipsism. I ready myself to dismiss her as anything other than a circumstantial acquaintance.
But, she admits to her shortcomings, and I become smitten again.
“You’re right,” she says calmly. “It’s all wrong-headed to me, but I seldom know who plays these stupid games – I’m glad you don’t like them.”
I think about how much I like these games, especially when I play them on other irrational humans, but human predictability is banal, even tasteless these days. I keep my thoughts for now; they are a revelation for another time when I lose another shirt to the hypnotic movement of her hair.
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Of all the games I want to play with Natasha, this isn’t one of them.
“I’m glad to hear you say that, Natasha, meaningless self-deception isn’t for those like us,” I say with a smile on my lips she seems to perceive over the phone.
“Those… like… us…” she repeats with ill-concealed excitement. “I bet you say that to all the girls.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow night,” she says, hanging up the phone in a perfectly timed move to make me agree to her proposal again.
In the last thirty minutes since she ended our call, I cancelled all my previous appointments to make room for Natasha tomorrow night. This Devil might have met his match for now. I smile as I wonder if even the “not wanting to appear needy” part was a lure. And one I bit gladly.
An hour after our phone call ended I still think if the reasons Natasha calls the Devil, or why she associates with me should be cause for worry. I’m excited.
Thank you for reading.
— The Devil Unbound
Read the first entry: Meeting Natasha Again