Have mercy with me, with this little boat that was not made for cruising in uncharted waters. I should be anchored in a harbour, not fighting for the life of ship and crew in the middle of a storm, waves, treacherous waters and navigating through rocky cliffs.
This captain is not equipped or trained to steer this driftwood with a mast and sail even across the smoothest of lakes, much less this raging ocean. All I wanted was to get out of my house, to sail in peace, maybe drink a few beers too many like we have. I never asked for a sea monster, the sharks, the people with torches up on the cliffs just waiting to come down and dig through the wreck as soon as I smash against a rock too many.
I did not ask for any of this, that depth in your eyes, the slightly tilted smile, that little dimple in your cheek. I did not ask for those perfect breasts that are so impossible to look away from, or those eyes that still manage to draw my gaze away.
I entered this arena with a sword, but no shield, and the blade was dull to begin with. Not a challenge for you, is what I’m saying. Completely out of my waters, yet somehow failing to bore you. Maybe I win by a lack of competition, maybe you see something in me that I don’t, maybe my jokes that I come up with in the last second come just quick enough to sound witty.
Maybe you are entertained by my obvious attraction, maybe you just like to see me struggle. Maybe that hand you extend to reach for my beer lingers just long enough for me to grab your wrist and stop you - but we both know that I won’t. You want my beer, it’s yours, you want my anything, who am I to say no to that? Who am I to judge your motivation when I should really just try to stay afloat, and be thankful when it works out.
Or maybe, maybe I am starting to get the hang of this, start to understand how to steer into the waves so that they carry me up without crashing down upon us. Maybe, I can fight off those sea monsters with my talisman, maybe I can straighten my back and face the onslaught of the weather like a captain who has never done anything else. The strong respect strength, isn't that what they say?
Maybe I can close the distance instead of waiting for you to do it, you know what they say about keeping your enemy closer than your friends. If I sit right next to you, you have no room to wield that sword, and I am not the worst in a fist fight. I can handle myself when my reflexes count more than my long-term strategy, when the muscles in my cheek twitch involuntarily, and so do my fingers.
I didn't mean to touch your arm, it wasn't a conscious choice I made. It’s not something I would normally do, unless challenged. I wouldn't be so close to you that I can see the pores on your skin, the white inside your eyes. I would not even get into the danger zone of your fingers, and if by accident I would make sure to retreat and act like nothing happened.
But everything happens, in silence, touch and words that we exchange. We remain careful, dancing, no danger of holding on to arms and wrists for too long, or slip off sweating skin if we failed to let go in time.
The circle is closing in, there are too many people, to near around us, too cheerful and eager to see us stop toying around. They paid good money to be here tonight, and now they want to see a fight for their money. They want to see either of us fall down, the other get on top, see how many punches you can get in before the ring leader counts me out.
They want to know the cards that each of us holds, want to witness the betting war without having to put their own money on the table. They want to see the bluffs, the plays, want to see me counter your aces with my unmatched two and seven.
And we? We give the crowd what they want, because we are both playing with house money now. Whoever loses, still wins. Whoever is out of cash first, is last to finish. Whoever falls silent, speaks clearly about what they want to hide.
I call, and you raise, and I go all in. We wait the flop, it seems like I’m losing, the turn gives me the card that gives me reason to hope. The River card is dealt, and I am all out of luck, and dragged away by your hand. I follow, leave behind a sea of laughter, a mistake that I won't live down for weeks, a victory neither of us will soon forget.
And I fold my hand, around yours.
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