Only a friend

I met the devil yesterday. We had ourselves a chat, we had ourselves some laughs. He is just an ordinary man. 5 foot 10 inches tall, straight cut jeans, brown hair, brown eyes. Picture any familiar man, give him curved dimples and fangs for teeth. Put together your best image of a contemporary god, an idol in flannel. The devil is just a regular guy, nothing special. He has empathy in his eyes just like you and I. He matches his socks, wears a belt, his talk is soft. We talked for an hour, a casual conversation. We discussed all manner of things, mainly, the faults of society and his loss of vision. The devil has lost recognition of the world he started in; the one he sees is fuzzy. He has noticed that hell has had an uprising. It has crept from the underground into the present landscape. He no longer can discern the difference between his world and ours. I asked him if it used to be a clear boundary, a line that he could see between the stars, heaven, hell, and me? Nodding, he looked down at the ground; he told me he could see through the dirt into his world, the opaque pigment was gone, now, a translucent, transparent window out beyond our world into his. There was only a thin pane of glass between his world and ours, the light let all the darkness stream into our side. He seemed disappointed, his kingdom was gone, it had evaporated and expanded all over the earth. He told me there used to be a difference between wrong and right, a real distinction between good and evil. Now, he was just an average man, a standard figure residing in a normal house on a typical street. He told me his identity as the devil was slipping away. He was so tired of the travel. Back and forth he goes between hell and his new home. Visiting with all his neighbors is growing exhausting. He is wary of making new friends. Too many people were ringing his bell, calling on him to give them a hand. His eyes were failing him, overworked from piercing so many souls. I began to feel sorry for this poor guy, he was a single person, called on to destroy so much. The job of the devil has grown impossibly hard. I can’t help him but I listened to his pain, maybe I could pray for the devil? Ask another god to make his life easier. I told him I would do this, lay on the ground, and beg for some assistance. I’m not the one, I am only a friend, here to listen patiently. It can seem like a powerless position when your friend is the devil. But, he will make it on is own. He walked here and he will walk away from me. He stands up, collects his hat, shoes and coat, away he goes. Smiling, the devil returned to his house. He looked out the window, all he saw was another basic home, right beside his own. He curled up on the couch and took a rest. He closed his eyes to the current world and began dreaming of his place of origin. I returned to my desk, turned to a deck of cards. Played a game of solitaire. The devil has so many friends, but so few stop and listen to him, try to understand what he wants. I am just his companion, a humble sounding board. After we complete our conversations, he leaves me. I am happy to be on my own. He’s just a friend to me, a regular man, I would never want anything more.

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