It seems that unbeknownst to my conscious being, I am engaged in a high stakes game of chicken, maybe with Carrie but more likely with myself. Now to understand my involvement with any sporting contest, one should know a little about me and gambling.
Years before Jeanette Winterson wrote in The Passion that gambling only mattered when the stakes had meaning - true meaning - my girlfriend and I took up gambling. Twenty-three years old, the Grand Casino in Monte Carlo, the Casino in Cannes – if one is going to gamble, one should get style points. A roulette wheel, patience, and innocence: we would watch the wheel and if red or black came up 5 times in a row, we would bet the opposite. Same color again – double up. So for three nights we made a few francs and occupied ourselves feeling much older than we ever were.
The last night – five reds, time to play. Six reds, seven, eight – things were getting ugly. Finally in a moment of desperation we remembered to cover the 0 – a few chips in case there is no red or blue. The wheel spins, the ball bounces…. ZERO: a pile of chips – no, a mountain of chips. Thirty six to one. Maybe $1,000 and we are even – only even, but that sure beats having to catch the next flight home. Thirty years later – I do not gamble. There is nothing – nothing – that can occur in a casino that will ever match the emotions of that spin.
So here is this confirmed non-gambler sitting with Bob, my therapist, discussing putting my life back together. He is telling me of the road to rebuilding trust with Carrie, of how we can manage to include my homo-erotic fantasies as an aid – not an impediment – to our love life. It all seems so clear. Then I realize a basic assumption of his – Carrie becomes a part of my fantasy life and I stop my wandering. Based on all I have told him – my love, my devotion – quite the reasonable assumption: But not at all what I was thinking.
This is not the moment for a well chosen phrase, a nicely crafted sentence. I blurt out - I waited 30 years to be fucked, now I have done it twice, enjoyed it, so I should just stop? (Yes, I share the embarrassment you undoubtedly feel just reading it.) Of course I realize that the moment of stopping will come – but not quite yet.
And thus we get to the gamble: Carrie has expressed patience, she is waiting for me to work things out, and I want to use every minute on the clock. A two-minute drill where I will use my time-outs, the two minute warning, the sideline patterns, and I will get a lot of plays off – more hook-ups, more being fucked. Of course the problem is there is no end zone clock counting down, just a wife who is suffering. Just a wife who may wake up one day and declare the game is over.
My hubris is my deeply held belief that even then – at that last moment – I can declare it was all a mistake, a big misunderstanding – a “Honey, I’m home moment.” And of course that moment can still occur today – much damage to repair, but repairable all the same.
But there is a line which once crossed leaves no room for return. Carrie is in therapy – she goes stronger and more confident and there will come a day when I will have lost my gamble. Back on March 9th I posted “One More Drink” – a walk away from the “bar” while considering my options. I did not walk away then.
If Carrie was reading this post her comment would be simple – I can hear it clearly: She would say the issue is not if I will take a step back: it is if I can. And the answer is simple: in spite of fully understanding that I must, I am still not sure if I can.