“I was up $700,” he said as we walked down the empty White Plains side street, headed to a bar to watch the game, drink, talk, and eat.
“So how much you came home with?” I hurriedly asked, excited that my little brother got some money during his weekend trip to Atlantic City. He’s always been a gambler since a young child, specializing in dice games. More importantly, I was secretly hoping that he would pay the tab for this upcoming dinner. I could taste the steak and shrimps already.
He smiled. I instantly knew what that smile meant; he didn’t have any money to show for his momentary monetary high.
“Why didn’t you cash out?” I asked, a bit peeved that he was up and inevitably ended down.
After much more thought about my accusatory question, further spurred by a comment on Twitter, I realized that cashing out is the hardest thing to do…especially in relationships.
I have definitely been in a relationship or two in which I may have cashed out too late. Like most relationships, it started out magically. We were on a hot streak matched only by the hotness of others who too had been blinded by love. Unable to see the the rapid decline or slow accumulation of small things that eventually became big things, I
happily stayed in the relationship. Time passed. Hella fun was had. Trust was broken. Great sex was sexed. More time passed. Trust was rebuilt…attempted at least. Moments became obligatory; celebrations lacked passion and excitement. They no longer felt as amazing as they did in the beginning.
But each time I even thought about leaving, the amount of time I had already invested in our relationship, coupled with the romanticized memories of happier times, always prevailed. Until it didn’t that time.
Imagine I’m at a slot machine and I am feeding it constantly. Yes, I earn a couple small winnings, but I know, without a doubt that the jackpot of all jackpots will be had with my quarters. My cup is filled with emotions, passion, and love; each coin is a piece of me, with dreams of our future together.
And then I run out (Editor’s note: I am responsible for losing many of my coins; for example, while shaking the machine, hoping that the vibrations would somehow make the jackpot hit sooner, a few coins fell out of my cup…all that to say that I acknowledge that much of the coins lost were due to my actions and own choices. I don’t want it seem like I sat there haplessly having the machine drain my emotions…going overboard with the imagery now. *shrug*). Looking at the empty cup in my hand, hoping for one more coin, one more emotion to give. That next one will be the one, I tell myself. I admittedly lie to myself often. I already spent the winnings I won and every cent I owned. Begrudgingly leaving my imaginary seat, I know that someone else with a new cup filled with shiny quarters will sit in my place and play that same slot machine, inevitably destined to win the jackpot, the same prize that I wanted, at one point, more than anything else.
On the other hand, I may have potentially cashed out too early of a few relationships. Wonderful conversations, feeling like I can be me, with every eccentric idiosyncrasy, coupled with great sex could not keep me from looking for the cash out button at the first or second warning sign of a potential big problem (or timing issues…but that’s a different issue for a different post).
Re-reading that sentence, I realize I may be in trouble; dating me must truly be hard. Smh.
Long story short, I am not riding with a nina and the one chick I know named Keisha doesn’t smoke kesha (at least I don’t think she does), but I’m still cashing out.
Love is a gamble, filled with risks that has lead to the highest highs I’ve ever experienced. Simultaneously, those risks are responsible for some of the lowest lows, which I would never wish on my worst enemy.
So when does one cash out? Does one just keep playing the same machine till the dream becomes reality? Or does one move from one machine to the other, searching for one’s jackpot?
Please share your thoughts in the comment section.