As pale peach light creeps along the leaves of the trees, a small bird can be heard fluttering past the window, swooping on the humid morning air to land on a telephone wire which slinks up and down our quiet street. The coffee grinder whirrs to life downstairs in the kitchen and I click off the alarm on my phone in the dark. Too much stress in my mind. Too much worry about how my day will go. I dream of being someone else with someone else’s life. A life where I am not tied to anything. Not a job. Not money. Not the east coast. It’s all a gamble, this life, even if you stick to what you know. Even if you cling to the familiar there’s still chance involved. The chance you’ll miss out. The chance you will die with regret.
And I know there’s old people out there who will lecture us and say ‘don’t waste it’ or ‘you only get one life, this is it’ and yadda ya, but they only think that way because they have squandered everything, too. They know the feelings they warn you about because they have them and you don’t yet. It’s the fact that you don’t yet that makes them mad or sad or whatever. In any case, I wonder what it is we are all looking for and cannot seem to find. I have a hunch it’s our own hearts.
I wonder if I have found it, here and there, and if I should try to get better at recalling those times so I can recognize them in the future. Today, for instance. Hot sticky gross July day in the middle of the week. Will I transcend the monotony of this day at least a few times during it? Am I playing too small, as they say, whatever the fuck it means? Am I to gamble bigger, more dangerously, daringly, recklessly? I cannot help but think that gamble was part of what I loved about drinking. It was stupid, yeah obviously, but after a whole day spent wishing just about everything was more beautiful, as the evening opened up wide in front of me, I wanted nothing more than to toss myself into the waiting arms of oblivion. To throw caution to the wind and myself out the window of the same bloodless scene and into the free fall of come what may.
Come what may after drinking was never pretty, of course. But I’m not drinking anymore. And what’s funny is the gambler in me is still alive and kicking, apparently. What is it inside that wants me to take a chance on myself? The chance of staying present. The chance of letting go. The chance of finally, once in a lifetime, taking a chance.
3 Replies to “If You’re Gonna Play the Game (audio)”
Thank you, dear Allison. I love your voice. Thank you for sharing your amazing verbal poetry.
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Thank you so much for listening, dear John. I’m so very grateful you enjoy.
To me it’s as if I’m always thirsty and for the life of me I don’t know how to quench the thirst. I’ve tried lots of substances through the years but maybe it’s living water I’m thirsty for? The stuff prophets speak of? 💕C
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