The Ace of HeartsSubmitted by electrictoothsyndrome at 2004-12-28 22:29:06 EST
Rating: 1.64 on 20 ratings (20 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
**[A stranger walks into the casino and lays his money down...]
I remember your face now... I couldn't before, but I just saw your picture again. I was looking for the one I took of you walking out the door. You remember the one... I took it on purpose. I think I said at the time, "I'll look at this later and cry..."
If I didn't say that, I should have. The picture now, like you, is long gone.
**[He lays his life savings - everything he has - down on the table...]
I remember dancing with you in our living room. You didn't particularly want to, but I convinced you with a smile and a kiss. I thought it would be one of those many moments we could look back on together while our bodies fell apart around us, and our grandchildren brought us dandylions off the lawn.
I wanted to hold you tighter than your fragile frame could have withstood, but I settled for the smell of your skin and the cottony comfort of your touch.
If I were a rich man I would give all that I own for just one more borrowed moment in your arms. And if I had an eternity to spend, I'd spend it inventing a machine that could stop time right then...right there.
**[The cards are dealt, and the stranger, without looking at his hand, pushes his pile to the center. The other players cut their losses at the ante and look on in rapt curiousity at the two that remain...]
I see you sleeping. You are peaceful and soft, and your hair paints the pillow golden. I somehow imagine that my adoration can penetrate your dreams and hold you there in the places you love best.
I feel your soft sleepy groan touch me lightly through the half-light, "what are you doing, baby?"
The smile and tears are wiped quickly from my face.
**[The stranger walks alone in the rain - to where, he doesn't know. Everything he had is gone to one Hail Mary holding aces and eights...]
I remember the way you cried when I smashed your lamp, and bled on your bedroom carpet. I remember half-thinking how bad it used to feel to see you hurting inside like that, and how I always wanted to bear that pain for you if I could. My first inclination was to hug you...to hold you again like I once could...but now it only offered a crumb of comfort to see you hurting half as much as I was at that moment.
I remember staring at the scenery all the way home looking for a twisted tree from a recurring dream...to tear back the curtain on this nightmare - to reveal the falseness of it all.
All the trees were straight as quivered arrows.
**[An old gambler walks into a casino... In his empty eyes one can see the wisdom of a thousand losers - all holding crumpled acceptance speeches in their withering hands. The cards are dealt... The bet is made... Everyone watches in mute curiosity at the two that are left... A gasp can be heard as a young man turns over his hand...
As the old man walks back out again into the cold, rainy night, he hails a taxi, tips him, and says, "how far will will 20 bucks get me?"
"That should get you to the other side of town, I'd say..."
"Is there a bar on the way?"
"There's always a bar on the way, old timer... Always."]