I’ve been distant all evening at the Casino. Pacing the walkways between the slot machines. Not even noticing the blue cigarette smoke haze that always chokes my breath. My mind is going much faster than I am. I don’t feel the motivation to even try to keep up now. I would go and sit at an empty slot machine and stare at the pictures on the screen in front of me as they spin and spin. A blur of colors to match my blur of feelings. My thoughts can’t seem to break the transfixed state they’ve gotten themselves stuck into. Every other time Goose and I have come to a casino, I go and stand next to him. Watching every card he draws. Often he’d have his arm around me and we’d laugh and talk with the other players at the gaming table. But not tonight. I’m not good company now. I want to crawl inside myself and hide. Tammy’s supportive talk is weighing on my mind. She’s right, it is alright for me to ask questions and even more importantly, to receive answers.
Goose walked over toward me. “Hey, what have you been up to? Playing bingo?”
He excused himself to the men’s room. I took a deep breath. It must have been the cigarette smoke in the air, because I became determined to relieve this nagging doubt and fear I have circling like vultures in my head. I asked myself a question while he was gone. Just where is all of this fear is coming from? I don’t like the answer. It’s a repeat scenario for me. Over and over this one repeats.. a life lesson, not yet learned. My fear comes from not being good enough. Not being enough to be chosen. Every man in my life has had someone or something more important in his life than I am. It’s not that they don’t like me or want me in their life. Because it seems they do. However, I never get top billing. For my exhusband, it was the farm and anything farm connected. His relatives, his livestock, his crops, his machinery. We’d been married nearly ten years when he said “I’m going to run home and check the cattle.”
That’s when I pointed out that I thought we were home. This home that we’d made together. I guess he was just visiting all this time. As it turns out, I was the visitor.
Goose returned and suggested that since it was nearly 10:00 pm, that we should get started back. The car is parked alone now underneath a bright parking light. Once inside the car, its cold and dark. I shiver very hard as he starts the car.
He comments, “we’ll have it warmed up here in no time at all.”
I know it will take at least ten minutes and when you’re shivering that seems like an eternity.
Once we’re on the highway, Goose takes my hand and comments, “You’ve been preoccupied by something all evening. What’s wrong?”
Through the fear I answered. ” Earlier today while we were driving here, you got some texts. And I was wondering if it was the Minneapolis girl?”
I was grateful for the darkness in the car. I was no longer shivering from the cold, but definately still dreading the answer.
Goose replied, “Yes it was her.”
I appreciated his honesty. He could have lied and I never would have known the difference.
After a long pause, I responded, “I thought you had ended things with her. I didn’t realize you were still in contact with each other.”
Goose gave no response. Sometimes silence is very loud. We continued on, driving in the roar of the silence. Many miles had passed when I finally spoke. I didn’t like the words as they spilled from my mouth. “I should give you guys some time to work things out.”
I think Goose realized what I was saying. He replied, “It just takes some time to end things.” Goose had decided to stand ‘in between’. In between her and I. There were good things here. I wasn’t ready to let go of all of the denial just yet. I wasn’t ready to let go. Just as Goose wasn’t ready to let go of the Mineapolis girl. He and I… we were more the same than either of us realized at that monent.