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Gambling Habits

gambling habits

When you meet the love of your life in the middle of a tango class, you certainly cannot stop to chat. The mechanics—the methodical movement of the dancing, the heaving and thrusting, the curling and bending—take precedence.

Thus it went that Margie and Jules kept their arms taut and legs nimble as they dusted the floor, clutching each other vehemently, yet silently.

But when you see the love of your life in the middle of a tango class, you converse all the same, by omission. Margie, in allowing herself to be simultaneously pulled and ballasted like a stake, teased out her need. Jules, in trying not to drop his partner, kept his hands sturdily on her back, communicating his own ante.

They moved and twirled in the grip of an unbroken compulsion, the lure of which had pulled them across the room to each other in the first place. Despite many available partners, despite vast differences in skill (Margie was a consummate dancer).

They danced, and time lengthened like sugar candy.

Abruptly, the instructor—a young, leggy man of about thirty—clapped his hands, high by his face, no one claps like that, and the numerous tangoing pairs paused where they were and stepped apart. Jules and Margie held for a second longer to get their breath and long enough for Jules to speculate, quietly, intimately:

“First time?”

Margie invited breeze into her voice. “I’ve been going to a class across town. Heard this one was better. Took a chance. You?”

“I came to see you,” Jules said solemnly. He spoke right to her, right into her, obliterating her breeze, calling out her need.

With that, all the pain she had ever known, all the pain she had carried so long in a small kernel in her back, opened up and took on the weight in the world. She folded beneath it. Without thinking, she pushed past the leggy instructor and fled the bright room, down the stairs, pushed open the heavy door and out onto the street where she ran for her car. The clicks of her dancing heels kept abrupt time. She expected Jules’ voice to float down from the second-story window and shoot right through her, some luck of nighttime physics, telling her, telling her…pulling her near and holding her carefully, reaching her down in his arms…

Thank goodness, nothing. Her heart wasn’t seen. Just clicks.

The weight began to ease the faster she drove, and the next night, rather than return to tango, Margie joined a local poker group. In no time, she began to win club championships in her age group.

Jules had always been a gambling addict. Margie took a chance he probably still was and wouldn’t allow himself anywhere near a poker table.

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