Playing for the Thrill
He took her to a Casino because he wanted her to understand.
She had never been to a Casino before because she believed that the experience would only swipe people and leave them empty, yet as soon as she walked in for the first time she noticed something about the colors, the games and the ambiance that seemed to fill her with a sudden interest that felt like was always there and just required a reminder.
But the surrounding was not what he wanted her to focus on.
“Look at them, they’re all dead” he said to her as they walked between the slot machines. She turned her attention from the bold colors and the catchy noises of the machines to the people sitting in front of them. They all seemed to be aging faster and faster as they pulled the lever with a blank, expressionless stare, almost as if all the bright colors had dulled the gleam in their eyes.
She didn’t understand. “Why? Why would they choose to wither like this?”
He grabbed her hand and took her further into the Casino, to a more intimate milieu and closer to the thrill of the games. The deeper she went, the more she felt. She couldn’t describe it, nor detect its origin, but she felt like she was living the anxiousness and the excitement vicariously through the players. Suddenly she heard an unfamiliar tone, distant from the luring sound of her surrounding, yet so personal. It started off as a faint bump in her chest, insignificant and simple, but that somehow made her stomach sink and then tumble and roll like the roulette. She ignored it and diverted her attention to the buzz of the different tables but again he would not let her be dazed by the games, he wanted her to pay attention to the players.
“They play but they never win.”
Her gaze shifted from the cards on the blackjack table to the players around it. One man was shaking his leg uncontrollably while the other tapped his finger anxiously on the table. A woman pierced her glare through the cards almost as if her life depended on the next card .
She didn’t get it. Why would they take such a chance? How could they risk what they have on a dicey possibility of winning? What are they hoping to…? She turned to ask him all these questions but without any warning, and ever so unexpectedly, the beating she heard before became louder, she looked around at all the apprehensive people and the beating became more demanding. So she tuned in and the beating took this chance to race even faster. It was now in her lungs, at the tips of her fingers, in the jerks of her knees… and before she knew it, her body was exhibiting a rush of emotions enticing her to test her luck. She knew she shouldn’t, but the idea of challenging the universe was irresistible. She didn’t know what the cards had for her but the notion of the unknown appealed to her even more. Somehow she became seduced by the potent impulse that maybe she could beat the odds. She knew the source of this unusual desire, she understood why people took blind chances with their lives… hope, but it didn’t stop there, it walked hand in hand with an egotistic assumption that we can sway fate to stand by our side. We hope that maybe when we choose that risk and when we pull that lever the stars would finally align and we’d win the jackpot. It was all for the thrill. Once you’ve experienced an exhilarating fear and a liberating excitement, no heart could ever settle for a lower pulse than that felt by being all in. She looked at him and she finally understood. These players, although they seemed to wither and fold by the pressure of the games, have probably never felt any more alive. She secretly had to admit that there was something frighteningly empowering about the possibility of losing, it forced you to remain positive and persistent, to fight harder for what you desire and to know that you have something worth the risk… worth the gain. This all happened in that place between loss and gain, between a mending kind of fear and a shattering form of excitement that made it all worth the risk, and this experience could give anyone a feeling they never had and leave them wanting more. The thrill was addictive.