Gambling for lovers

“I want to pick your brain about this,” he said in his South African accent as we sat at two slot machines, facing each other. It was 4:30am, the club had closed, but we had no intention of ending the night.

“Okay…” I said as I ran my hands up and down his stomach and linked them behind him, trying to get warm.

“What is it that you have against a one-night stand, exactly?”

“It’s not that I have anything against it. I’ve had one before. It’s just that, that’s not really what I want for myself. I get attached, I can’t help it.” I turned to my machine and pushed Play. Loser.

“Do you really want me to get attached to you?” I questioned.

He shrugged, “Well, I’ll be completely honest, I’m not looking for a relationship. I’m having fun. I’m twenty-five.”

“Right, exactly. So there’s really no point in me having a one-night stand with you, now is there?” I asked.

We kissed, he sighed.

“But, we’d both enjoy it.”

“I’m sure we would, there’s no question of it,” I nodded. “But I’d rather sit here and kiss you some more right now. If that’s okay.”

“I like you. You’re real,” he said. “You’re more honest than most American girls I’ve met. Truthfully, if I was looking for a relationship, you’re the type of girl I’d want to have one with.”

“Well, thank you. I suppose.”

We sat on those chairs, in front of slot machines for what was probably a good hour. We kissed, we joked, we talked about how even if I said I’d go back to his room with him, he now would not let me.

“I just want you to know that I hate the guy that hurt you,” he told me as he kissed my neck.

Where had that come from?

I turned my head. It was very late. I was tired. That must have been the reason why tears stung my eyes. I shook my head several times and blinked them away. Then, I nodded.

“Yeah,” I responded. “I wish I could say the same.”

What he didn’t know was that it’s more than one guy. It’s several guys and experiences. It’s hurt feelings stemming from inconsiderate actions and selfish resolutions. It’s the fear of being used and thrown away, without a chance to redeem myself. It’s the feeling of inadequacy, when you know that you weren’t even worth an explanation. It’s the feeling of terror when you realize it’s happening all over again and there’s not a damn thing you can do to stop it.

I took his hand as we made our way back to my hotel room. We got as far as the door before I changed my mind and decided I still didn’t want the night to end.

Sure, I’m honest. And respectible. Smart and classy.

But, I’m also allowed to change my mind.

And that is one of the beautiful, and tragic, things about being human.

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