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September 9, 2011

Poker.  That’s what everyone was playing, except me.  I was just the silent guy in the back of the room, listening, wondering.

There were no cards, or chips, or cigarettes, or beer.  Just a guy and a girl saying words to each other.  He spoke, and she replied, a smile on each of their faces, saying the words that would evoke a response, but not reveal everything.  Five cards, and only one shown, or two, just enough to make the other person worry, change their tactic.  He was skilled at this, and she wasn’t, the difference being one of experience, age.  So many years of doing this, day in and day out, had led him to knowing when it was time to show a card.  Now was the time, not a few weeks ago and not next week.  She knew what was coming, but pretended like it wasn’t happening, the elephant in the room stepping on her toe.  She took a deep breath, admitting to the elephant’s existence, but calling it a lil’ piggy in order to save face.  He acquiesced, giving her a way out, no sense in embarrassing her.  The elephant grunted, as her tap-tap-tapping foot betrayed her, and a smile formed on his lips.  He knew he’d won that round, though the game was far from over.

I laughed to myself as I sat nearby, shaking my head.  Poker, and they both acted as if they were just being friendly.  We are a funny species.


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