I’m not a gambler, never have been, knowing the house always had the odds and every play was a sucker’s bet for sure. I might kill an hour on a business trip to Las Vegas going through four dollars at the nickel slots, one play for each original nickel, winnings set aside for rolling.
Twenty-one years ago today I hit the grand jackpot standing nervously on the steps of an Indian restaurant, and my good luck has never changed so it’s fitting that today I draw a perfect 21 even if there is no casino to make a payoff on my winning.
She sits demurely on the step staring off at something. You want to know what but her face isn’t saying, her eyes soft, revealing nothing, her smile enticing, teasing, and out of grasp.
You want to sit with her, see what she looks at, what has captured her thoughts, and there is room on the step for you to join her, but you have never met, you cannot sit next to her, she there half a century ago, and you know she will only be the stuff of dreams one night.
If you desire to get from here to there, it helps to know there is, and for that matter where here is, for if you do not know where here is, you cannot get from here to there for with one step here has moved. And if you do not know where there is everywhere you go is there even if it is not the there you wanted to go.
He knew, the minute he stepped off, that it wasn’t going to end well. He should have realized it two steps earlier, but hindsight was of little use to him now. He knew he had to keep looking up, to focus on the sky. He knew he had to hope it would be like entering a black hole, where the end is certain but time slows and almost seems to stop. And, he remembered, the laws of physics break down inside the event horizon. What he knew he could not do was look down and see the ground rushing up at him. Even when you are 11, walking off the garage roof was not a really bright thing to do, the dare by your friends notwithstanding.