I Am the Devil on Your Shoulder, and I Am Dancing for You

By Liberty


My body is paralyzed, but my mind won’t let me fall asleep. I only had four hours of sleep the night before, plus I just flew from Rome back to Berlin this afternoon. The lights are turned off, my bag is unpacked, but my thoughts are spilling over the edge of sanity, as if someone pulled out the stitches in a fresh wound to watch a dark river of blood flow. I just lay in my bed for hours, eyes wide open, full of anxiety because my body is the only body here under the covers.

INBOX: 23:41 O o o on my way. I want to berg.
SENTBOX: 00:02 (>-___-)>~~ wunderbar

There is no way I can nap tonight, I tell myself. Just get the fuck up and calm down. I slink into a black cotton dress, let my hair down, scribble brown eyeliner around my lashes, and rub on some red lip balm. I put my wallet, cigarettes, chapstick, gum, and tiny samsung into a black purse. I hear a knock on the door and let him in.

“What time do you wanna goo,” he asks. I look at the time. 01:36.
“Um probably like 4, don’t you think? It will be pretty barn this early.”
“Cool. Let’s go to a bar.”

Small talk and alcohol for a few hours. We are both anxious, I can tell. When I start to relax, a sudden wave of exhaustion flows over me. It’s been such a long day. I just need to stick it out until the late morning.

It’s 03:30. “I’ll pay for a cab to berg. I can’t handle riding bikes right now,” I say.

We get out of the taxi and join the line that snakes into the former power plant turned hedonistic cement-and-steel techno haven. Neither of us talk since we are near the front already.

We both stand at the front of the line now, facing four huge bouncers covered in masks of facial tattoos and piercings.

“Wie viele (how many),” a dark voice asks.
“Zwei (two).”

Twenty seconds of silence pass. We are let in. The narcissist half of me isn’t surprised one bit, since I’ve never been denied, while the DO-NOT-TAKE-THIS-FOR-GRANTED half of me strangles the narcissist until it falls unconscious.

We climb three floors up and order a club mate and two shots of whiskey. Once the mate is finished, we head for the bathroom to refill the glass bottle with water, go pee, and swallow our pills. When a stall opens, four people walk out, and grabbing my hand, he leads me in and locks the door. We pee, chew the tablets, and then lean on either wall and face each other.

It’s 07:30. We’ve been dancing for just two hours, but we only have thirty more minutes together, and I’m starting to loose my mental composure. We sit on the leather booths that line the back wall. We put our heads together. We touch. We say what we need to say, what we’ve been unable to say until now. Something inside of me switches the blender to ON, and I start churning. I say it, but whether it was for his ears or mine, I do not know. “Whatever is meant to happen will happen. I will always be here.” Where? Where am I?

We dance for a few minutes. “I want to drop you off with you friends before I leave,” he says. “Don’t worry about me,” I say. Ignoring me, he takes me to the bar, where my two friends sit. “Hey,” I tell them. “I’m going to say bye to him then I will come back here.” They nod, in complete understanding.

We walk down two floors, and I stop on the last landing. I can’t go any further. In a split second, my emotions completely take over my body and I choke back tears. I mentally stab myself and pull my shit together. I watch him leave for his flight back to New York, and he watches me leave all my sanity on that landing as I climb back towards hell.


I meet my friends at the bar. An image pops in my head and I describe it to them. THIS PHASE OF SAFETY IS OVER, I say. NEW PHASE STARTS NOW. More shots. I send one last text.

SENTBOX: 08:14 I’m going to stay here until you land in New York.

I am temporarily afloat. 10:47, we all go to the bathroom stall and I try some new drug. One person complains about being too old. IM ONLY TWELVE, I burst. Hugs everywhere.

13:54. We are dancing on the second floor. Everything is red. I am struggling to tread water. The pounding, malicious beat is trying to drag me under. I start entering my dark place, the infamous dark place. It’s ok, I tell myself. It’s happened before, and you always pull through. It’s only temporary. Just don’t think about him, please.

One of my friends sees me. He grabs me and instructs me to keep my eyes on his feet. I do as I’m told, and my dancing starts to become more natural. I grab him and my other friend next to me, and say, “you are the angel and devil on my shoulders, I love you.” They nod, in complete understanding, laughing.

15:28. I am still in my dark place. I can’t open my mouth. I have been reaching my finger tips towards the surface of the water from underneath for what feels like a century. My dancing friend looks at me and shouts, look at my feet, you’re doing great. You are a great dancer. I’m here for you. I am the devil on your shoulder, and I am dancing for you.

I am momentarily pulled to the surface and take a sharp breath. We all head towards a small room with glass walls that looks over the east side of Berlin. It’s my favorite room. I go there at least once every time I’m here, and stare at the spinning Mercedes symbol on top of a large building. It reminds me of the eye of sauron, piercing me with its stare of mortality.

“How you doin,” someone asks me.
“Floating in and out of dark period. But his flight doesn’t land until 9:30. I can make it. The last meal I had was carbonara in Rome.”

Time passes meaninglessly.

The reality of my sudden solitude drags me deeper than I’ve ever been. This transition to the new phase is brutal, but I need something to beat the shit out of me. If no one else will do it to me, then I’ll just have to do it to myself.

“I’m staying until midnight. 20 hours.”

00:00. I go home, where nothing waits for me.

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