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Empty Tables MAG
The first time I met Kym Sutton I saw it. In his slate gray eyes I saw he wanted nothing from me. It was long before his God complex. Actually that's not true, he thought he was God but no one took him seriously, not like now. Anyway, Kym wanted nothing, but I knew I'd give everything.
To understand Kym I guess you'd have to understand me. I'm Sadie - a former homecoming queen and currently a hair dresser with poetess intentions. The only good thing about me is that I'm not one of those New York disco clones (which might not be a good thing since all I do is cut hair during the day and down espressos at night at this tacky poetry corner). Which brings me back to Kym.
The first time I saw Kym he was dressed in black, head to toe, his hair pulled severely off his face. He was smoking at one of the back tables. There was a tattered notebook lying on his table. It had burn marks like it served as an ashtray on its days off. Kym suddenly stood and walked to the stage. It was time to recite.
He stood rigidly, as though if he bent, everything in the world would lose meaning. The notebook was held tightly in his left hand, extended in front of him. Kym's voice was ice cold, un-changing, without emotion. He rasped about darkness, death, the end of the world. I don't remember breathing at all while he read. It was like he grasped the future in his verse. When Kym finished, there was electricity in the air. As he made his way back to the table, I downed my previously untouched cup of espresso and jumped up to intercept him. I bumped into him and he looked me up and down and met my glance.
"Espresso." It was a statement, not a question.
"Yeah," I answered. (Note how slick I was with the snappy comeback.)
"Don't know why people drink that sludge. Like the rush is needed to speed the world up. Self destruct days ahead of schedule."
I looked at my mug like it had some contagious disease. I put it down on the table. Kym raised his eyebrows at this. "What are you doing?"
"I'd like to sit with you." I was flustered, I'd never been with anyone this cold before.
"Go away. Come back when you have cleansed your system. I have to listen to my muse. I'm inspired."
With that, Kym sat down. In shock, I went back to my table and ordered an herbal tea. Sipping it, I stared at him. He was jotting things down frantically, even writing on the table. Once he glanced up and I felt the coolness of his eyes, seeming so inhumane, larger than anything I'd ever dreamed.
Needless to say, I stayed until closing time trying discretely to watch Kym. At one point the owner of the cafe came over to his table. The owner saw the lines on the table and started to yell. With that, Kym slid from his chair, opened his wallet, and dumped a fistful of bills onto the floor of the club. Then he grabbed the table and walked right out the door.
My interest piqued. I left a ten on my table and chased this Hamlet-Romeo. Out on the street Kym was standing with a cigarette in one hand, his table leaned against a street light. He looked perplexed. Deciding to sacrifice my pride again, I approached Kym.
"Do you honestly believe any taxi is going to take you with that?" I made a play to sound coy, disinterested.
Kym turned slowly to face me. A slight smirk came across his face.
"Ah, the espresso girl returns. Does the night still drag for thou?" He flicked ash onto his notebook.
Realizing that I hadn't fooled him at all, I regrouped my troops and opted for retreat. Getting no further than 10 feet away, Kym started to laugh. Feeling more than a little upset, I looked back at him.
"I'm sorry," he said," I think my muse is a bitch so when I listen I get to be a bastard." With that he offered his hand. It seemed an empty gesture, but again my hormones led.
"Do you have a clue as to how to get this home?" Kym said, knocking on the table.
"Where do you live? I mean, just to get the table home." I felt incredibly pathetic.
"St. Catherine's. God, you'd be closer if you lived in the Bronx. Look, if I could store it overnight, would you get it tomorrow?" I was feeling gutsy. He had started this conversation.
"I work at this salon only two blocks away. We'd have to walk, but it's close." It wasn't my place, but if he came early it wouldn't matter.
"Al's?" he asked.
"Yeah, I have a key. I could put it in the waiting area, if you'll come by early."
"Fine, I'm Kym."
"Sadie, not simple Sadie either," I explained. I hated that nickname. We ended our talk there.
The next day the table ended up in the center of Al's waiting area. Al wasn't a man; it was short for Alejandra. She wasn't pleased with the table, mostly because Kym didn't come for it until five o'clock. He came, picked up the table, turned to me and only said two words: "Tonight midnight." It was a start.
For the next few weeks I spent all my nights with Kym.
I watched as he worked all the clubs. He soon amassed his entourage of people. They were so unimportant, so faceless, lifeless. The only one I remember was Helena. She always sat at Kym's feet, like she was paying reverence. In hindsight, I guess I treated him the same. I never spoke unless spoken to, and always walked behind, not with, him. I didn't write for Kym, about Kym or with Kym.
In a way he reminded me of a friend of mine from high school. Her name was Brenda and she was a year ahead of me. We used to sit on the heater in the Chemistry hall and watch the jocks walk by. We'd sit there, our legs crossed, like royalty. Everyone thought we were best friends, and girls followed us like we were the queens of the school.
The sad thing is that I don't remember us saying anything worthwhile, doing anything important.
After she left I became queen. Homecoming, the prom, it didn't matter. I lead. But countless faces drifted through those years, so unimportant, so blank. I think now that I followed Kym that same way. Like a lap dog, always at his beck and call.
Now I remember why I gave up on Kym. It wasn't something wrong with me. It was a small detail in our first meeting. That night in the car I read my own poem. That was how I first saw him reciting from the stage. The verse wasn't perfect, but it was one of my best. Months later at some different club, the little tribe together, Kym read it.
As I sipped my tea, I knew the lines Kym recited before he had finished. It was my piece, word for word. After he was done, I asked why he had stolen my poem. His answer showed the depth of our relationship. Kym looked me in the eyes and said, "You wanted me to have it."
It was true in a way. I gave him whatever he wanted. But that was the end. I had only one question
"How'd you get the poem?"
"What the hell do you think I wrote on the table?"