When he takes me to my apartment building’s roof at sunset, I think he wants to make out with me – which I totally would do, because even though he’s a little ridiculous in his black spandex bodysuit, he’s pretty hot in his tight spandex bodysuit. Instead he asks, Do you want to fly with me? He could be anyone in his almost-bondage mask; how do I know he’s really the guy who protected the City from the Scarlet Doppelganger? Mom always says I don’t look before I leap and I guess she’s right so I just say, Sure, because what else is there to do tonight, watch Gossip Girls on Netflix? I hang onto his back as he launches off the ledge and we’re falling and I’m sure I’m finally going to live up to Mom’s disappointment and I prepare for asphalt but then we’re rising and far below is the apartment building’s flat roof, with that old guy’s pigeon coop where the boy-next-door closed dull green eyes and kissed me. And then we’re so high I can’t tell which building is mine among all the buildings. You don’t need to hold on so tight, he says. We soar above the City and then bank toward the sunset. My body presses against his, my breasts against his back.
Below, farms in neat squares make way to slick-sided mountains. We ride a thermal to a shining city on the shore and he asks me, Where do you want to go? No one’s asked me what I wanted before, what school I wanted go to, what instrument I wanted to play, what object I wanted to collect, those airport snowglobes with cities imprisoned inside that Mom brings me from business trips or seashells humming with promises. To the sunset? I say, because I’ve never been all that good at geography. As good as any place, he says. We swoop over the ocean and he dives so our feet drag in the surf and my mouth overflows with salt. I can almost touch the fish shimmering below the surface, their overlapping silver scales like the sequins on my prom dress, the dress I bought to make the boy-next-door stutter even more than he already does.
The setting sun turns the water all glimmer and orange. It takes so long to cross the ocean. He flips over so we’re stomach to stomach; his bottle-glass-green eyes glow. I think he’s finally going to kiss me but he doesn’t, he just wants to talk, his fingers on my waist and I will them to move lower, but he doesn’t do that, not yet, doesn’t yet run his fingers through my hair, doesn’t yet draw my head down to his. He just describes our flight plan: the Forbidden City, Mount Everest, the Registan. His voice lulls me. The sun’s rays dye his skin crimson, make his mask even more dangerous. It turns out you can follow the sunset forever.
Lori Sambol Brody lives in the mountains of Southern California. Her short fiction has been published in or is forthcoming from Little Fiction, Tin House Flash Fridays, New Orleans Review, The Rumpus, WhiskeyPaper, and elsewhere. She can be found on Twitter at @LoriSambolBrody and her website is lorisambolbrody.wordpress.com.