THE PINOCLE LOVER
Ani showed me a new way to love. Unfortunately, she died before I realized it. She and her husband, Andrew, had taken me into their home during a homeless period, a 7 year money drought where I lost or sold all my stuff.
So when I showed up sleeping on the floor of her office, her nurturing compassion rescued me from another kind stranger who took me in for a year and now hated my guts. I have that affect on people. Once you get to know me, you hate me.
I’m not a villain, I’m just a guy who seems to have no limits, no boundaries, and that scares people. They really think I’m wild but I am tame. It’s just that my boundaries wander off into metaphysics and sometimes never make it back to earth. This is a problem. It looks schizo, smells schizo, and walks like a schizo, so guess what? I’m not schizo. I am a one eyed man in the land of the blind. The kingdom I rule is myself. God is my Co-Pilot, consigliare, and Best Friend.
My task is to see only One in all this variety. To reduce everything down to One. To hear and see only The One. To see and hear only the Puppet Master behind the screen, not what’s foremost but that which is everlasting, the Truth with a capital T.
So what does all this have to do with “The Pinochle Lover”? Before I was sober about sex, I thought there was only one way to love a woman. With a certain appendage. So, if I wasn’t making love with my nether region and I was really attracted to a woman, I was a walking failure. A big time loser who couldn’t make it with the woman of his current fantasy because she was married and unattainable, just what I love. An unavailable woman so that I won’t have to commit to intimacy.
Ani loved to play games, any game you could name, she could play it. I used to play pinochle when I was a teenager and now, generally, hate games; they are wastes of time when one could be curing one’s own insanity. But Ani coaxed me into playing and stopped me from staring into my navel trying to see God among the belly-button lint.
I am very violently competitive when I play games. Even in a non-contact sport like cards, I try to intimidate my opponents with my bulldogged aggressiveness. I slam the big winners down! I’m a Drama Queen! Good gracious! And I love to win. Ani read me in a moment and started deliberately losing. I couldn’t lose and she always did. That was no fun. She just turned up her stomach and surrendered to my every advance. On the cardtable.
It is only now, after she’s gone, that I realize she had made love to me on the cardtable. I was just too fixated on winning and losing to actually play a game where “it ain’t the game, it’s the company” that makes the game fun, not the outcome. Winning isn’t everything, it’s irrelevant and immaterial. It’s being with the ones you love while playing life’s games. You don’t have to be silly loser like Ani, but maybe she was right.
It’s the one’s you love to play with that really count.