Facebook Conversation Thread
Hey K. Don’t really know if this is appropriate or what to even say, but I guess that even after all this time I still think about you. Hope all is well.
Hii, that is very sweet of you to say. I deleted your BBM pin from my phone bc I realized it was a bad idea. I had a fun night in AC that night. Even though nothing really happened, I feel guilty still talking to you. Hope you understand.
“You’re telling me that the Mets are better than the Yankees,” I exclaim to a stranger. “The Mets.”
I lean against an unoccupied roulette table. The stranger sits in front of a Wheel of Fortune slot machine. He lights a cigarette.
“I’m saying they can be,” he slurs. Puffs of smoke escape with he each word.
I chuckle. A heavy bass rumbles below my feet.
“Just wait,” he continues, dragging his cigarette. “The Mets will be better than the Yankees.”
We converse in front of Murmur; a night club at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. A bouncer dressed in all black ushers in a group of women. They struggle in their heels.
“Fuck the Yankees,” someone else says. A woman.
I shift my body and face the voice, palming the felt of the table with both hands.
“And you’re from, where?” I question. “Boston?”
A brown beauty mark sits between her eyebrows. She wears a black romper, cut slightly low at the chest. Her skin is the color of wet sand. She has brown hair curling past her shoulders and white teeth that seem to get whiter the bigger her smile gets.
“Philly,” she declares.
“That explains it,” I say. “Must’ve been tough watching my team beat your team in the World Series.”
She rolls her eyes, but fails to hold back a grin.
“My boyfriend is a huge Phillies fan. If he was here he’d have my back.”
“Yeah, well, my girlfriend doesn’t even like baseball. If she was here, I still wouldn’t need her to defend me.”
I didn’t have a girlfriend. Although, that wasn’t entirely true, considering I was always dating someone. I was fooling around with this girl I was seeing during my senior year of undergrad. We recently reignited whatever attraction loomed in college during a drunk make-out session at Millers Ale House. I’m not sure why I lie.
She rolls her eyes again, but starts to laugh.
“I’m K,” she tells me, extending her hand.
“Demetri,” I reveal, gliding my fingers against her palm.
We converse for a bit, with a side of more flirtation, exchange numbers, and then decide to head down to the club together. Her friends are waiting for her. Mine, for me. We flash our stamped wrists at the bouncer, and slip onto an escalator, the volume of promiscuity increasing as we descend. K clicks her fingers on the disappearing railing and looks up in my direction, nervously. She is on the step in front of me, already noticeably shorter than I am, and lifts her head. We pass others, mainly couples. They link fingers and scale towards the casino. I dip my head, and K’s cheek touches mine.
“Nothing can happen between us,” she shouts. Her words, loud and declarative, feel like a whisper into my ear.
I smile, then nod. “I know.”
The escalator sinks into the floor and we stumble off. A rectangular dance floor is sandwiched in between two bars at both ends of the club. Strobe lights aim for hearts. Smoke from smoke machines conceal wandering hands. A DJ provokes emotion from the crowd. Yells follow.
“It was nice to meet you,” she exclaims, desperately.
Our cheeks touch. Although, it’s not desperate. It’s hopeful, with a hint of possibility. I hold my hand out. Her fingers graze against my palm.
She points to her friends and gets lost in the crowd. I see my two buddies ordering shots at the corner of the bar. People pass me. Some come. Some go. I stay where I am, fearful of congestion. Of getting lost.
I don’t have an explanation. K and I didn’t speak much when we first met, ten minutes ago, up at the casino, about anything too personal that is. I’m not sure an explanation even exists. I guess the question is can two strangers share an inexplicable bond, one with little evidence to prove that there was, in fact, a bond? K had a boyfriend, one she had been with for three years. What was it about me? What was it about her current relationship that led to me? Why was it hard to let go of a stranger, when my life consisted of a similar coming and going feel as the club I stood in?
My friends see me, and motion over, holding up their beers. I step forward and my phone vibrates. A text message. It’s from K.
Blackberry Messenger Thread
K: Meet me where we met in 20.
“And then what happened?” Joe asks. Joe and Rob stand next to me at a craps table. I hold the dice and toss.
“We had a drink. Then we went outside for some air.”
The dice reads six. Money is slid in front of us. I collect my money. Joe doubles up. He’s always the risky one.
“And what happened outside?” Rob asks. I flick my wrist and the dice nail the back wall.
“We slow danced,” I admit.
Six, again. We’re paid.
“Press it,” Joe tells the dealer. I collect my money. “You slow danced?”
“Yeah. There was music outside the Borgata.”
The dice is pushed back to me. I don’t hesitate, and shoot immediately.
“Then we kissed.”
Another six. Joe presses. I don’t.
“And then what?” he asks.
“And then, well since you guys were in the room and her friends were in hers, we went into that room with the ice and vending machine.”
He pries some more, but I don’t tell him what else happened.
Although a mischievously random night, K was safe. Someone that represented me not having to get serious. Which is why I was often the other guy. An escape for most girls. An escape they knew couldn’t last, and one that I hid in. That’s how I was living my life. Searching for companionship in ephemeral, fleeting form. I really liked K, and when I returned to New York and she to Pennsylvania, I did all I could to keep our one night going. But it wasn’t fair to either of us, to her specifically, as I was ultimately asking for something she couldn’t give me. Which is why she deleted my number a week later.
I still think about her, when in Atlantic City, any time I pass a vending machine, in general, and I question what we had. If it was real. All we can ever do is pick up the pieces, combine all of these short, meaningful interactions, and reflect. About what we want in life, specifically. Life is a gamble.
I let go of the dice again, and my phone vibrates. A text from K.
Blackberry Messenger Thread
K: It was lust at first sight.
The dice reads seven. Craps. The dealers collect our chips. I look to Joe. He shrugs, puts more money down on the pass-line, and waits for the next shooter. I hesitate, and pick up two red chips; the table minimum.