Every so often before I became Clyde’s mommy I would take a trip to Atlantic City, NJ. When I was a wee little kid back in the early 1300s there were still family things to do in AC. You could take your children there, walk on the pier, it was not all shiny casinos and fancy lights.
By the time I took my periodic trips to AC it was all about the benjamins baby.
I played poker a lot then. I like to think I am still good at it, even though these days my play is online and not for real money. Somehow not playing for money doesn’t diminish the skill…..of course I am biased because I don’t want to admit that I might not be that good.
The thing people don’t understand – or at least some people don’t understand about poker – is that your cards are maybe 30% of your ability to win. You can have pocket Aces with an Ace on the flop and still be talked into laying down your hand, if the other person gets inside your head.
One day I will make a living by walking around in other’s heads. Today I do it not because I like to but because the WHY of something is a motivator for me.
When playing poker my preference is Texas Hold ‘Em. I like to see a lot of flops. I will go in with almost any 2 cards because you never know what is coming out on the flop. Of course sometimes I can be priced out of seeing the flop, I am not crazy. More often than not though I will pay to see a flop.
Sometimes you just have to put your chips into the pot and see what happens. Sometimes you win big, sometimes your chips go bye bye.
I still love the game of poker though.
I like to play because you learn about people. I study people.
I’d like to say that I am so anal retentive that I walk through life playing people like poker. I don’t though. I am pretty much the opposite. I walk through life with my heart on my sleeve for those I let in. I might rarely yell, or laugh, or cry but I am unable to hide my emotions. I have no poker face. My expressions confuse people a lot until you get to know me, but poker face doesn’t exist for me.
When I love you, I love hard. When I hate you, I hate harder. When you hit me, I stab. When you hurt someone I love I scorch the earth.
It’s a little more complicated though when its me who hurts those who I love.
I fuck up. I really do. Not on purpose, I don’t self sabotage, but I fuck up. When I do, I try to fix it, but at times shit just can’t be fixed. It’s like poker. I’m looking at a straight that I am holding and not seeing the flush that my opponent might have. I push all in and at times it leaves me empty.
This is one of those empty moments.
It’s a moment where I opened myself up to the flush, and instead of the flush my opponent had quads and I’m left sitting here wondering where all my chips went.
Sometimes you work around a situation because the person matters enough to you to make that happen. Sometimes you work around a situation because the defeat associated with “losing” is too much to swallow.
The only loss here for me, is that which is my love. It’s a big loss though. One that is gonna fuck with me if we can’t fix this. I am stubborn enough to think that yes I can fix it, but it might…..be time to understand that maybe I cannot.
I’m wrong infrequently. It happens though.
If communication is the foundation, why on earth aren’t we?
This is beyond a simple difference in approach, this is total failure. For a girl who loves her words, failure with words is not something that I’ve ever been able to accept.
I try to be literal. I try to speak plainly. I try to say that which I mean. Even in moments like this when I use an example to tell a story…like poker, when you know me what I’ve said is plain.
I don’t pick up the trash I put it out. Every day I empty — well Clyde empties — the can and it goes into the basement or outside. I don’t let it sit or fester. Ain’t nobody got time for that especially in August. When it sits it stinks, and morphs, and turns into something you don’t want to touch later. So I get it out I don’t keep it around.
The thing about that though is not everyone operates like me.
I am fucked up. Not so fucked up that I cannot be fixed, just fucked up enough to KNOW that I am, which gives me the tools to fix and/or work around it.
I am stubborn. I am certain. I am complex. I am layered. I am a lot to digest, sometimes you need help. What I am NOT though is someone who suffers fools – or invites fuckery into her life.
At this very moment it FEELS like I’ve invited fuckery, but I know that I haven’t. I know what I signed up for, and who I signed up with.
I know that I didn’t agree to sit in silence watching.
I also know that asking for clarity is not a bad thing. At least when you ask for clarity and it is given you know where you stand. You might stand in triumph. You might stand in pain. You might stand in love. There is no confusion though. What’s so wrong with not wanting to live in confusion? What is the capital crime in asking someone to shit or get off the pot? Where is the harm in saying give it to me straight, no chaser? Tell me so that I can manage. Explain it to me so I can deal.
Apparently the harm exists when the person you ask that of is conflicted.
I understand conflicted.
Conflicted is being days away from spending the rest of your life with the man that you’ve loved all of your adult life, and then being sent out into the world alone again. It’s living your life as a widow, when you’ve not been married. It’s dedicating yourself to a relationship that didn’t end, it was snatched away from you. It’s understanding that you have the right to live, and love, and exist in reciprocity and feeling guilty at the same time for not standing by your man. It’s crying at night at your unexpected happiness while at the same time weeping for the life of the man you left who is in his own private hell that is the shell of his own body. It’s picking up and starting over and knowing that the one you left behind has only his own memories and being ripped apart because you can’t give him more than memories.
That’s conflict. That is beyond your control. That is looking at the hole cards the universe dealt you and saying I can fold or I can bet.
I can bet that love exists elsewhere. I can bet that someone values me enough to honor me. I can bet that I can be that person for someone else that I had once upon a time. I can bet that I am 41 not 401 and there is a lot of life left in my creaky knees to walk really fast even if I can’t run any longer.
It is also choosing not to run from that which might not work out in my favor.
It is pushing all in.
I don’t want to lose because what I’ve been blessed with from the universe is tear inducing beautiful. I can’t win though if I am not transparent.
I can’t pretend that it’s not my turn to bet. There might not be a time limit on the bet, but it has to come at some point. Unless I get up from the table all together.
Leaving the table is not an option…..for me.
I have to play. I have to play or die it feels like.
My existence feels like it rests on this one hand, and I am blind because I cannot tell if I have 9-2 or K-K.
And when you look at my hand you can’t tell either because you are playing Razz not Hold ‘Em. Yes, you are low balling and I won’t apologize for that. I won’t repeat the details here. I also will not apologize… not for that at least.
There are many things for me to apologize for but not that.
As I said once upon a time, I made you a promise, and my word to YOU means something.
Without that promise I could wax lyrically for 1000 more words but that promise stands and I won’t break it.
I can’t. I won’t.
That leaves a lot out there… left unsaid. But we stopped listening a long time ago, to each other at least. I like to think that I listened a little longer, but this could be one of those moments where I am wrong.
One of the lessons I had to learn with Gei, that I should have learned oh….15 years ago or so… is that no combination of words I can string together will make a heart turned to stone beat like living flesh.
I’m not one to leave a stone un-turned….its just that sometimes they are too heavy to lift.
might as well close this one out with Aaliyah… seems to fit