I don’t DO boyfriends.
I don’t know how it happened, only that it did. I work in a poker room, alongside my husband, a small place where gambling men wander in and out, looking for money and rarely finding it. I work because I enjoy it, just once a week, to challenge myself out of shyness, and to keep my mind busy recognizing faces and counting money. It’s a job without being work, and the people I’ve met are a menagerie of characters.
My boyfriend? He was there all along, a quiet shadow, a man I assumed never noticed me; the faceless blonde he’d see once a week in the poker room.
He’d come, and he’d go. Sometimes he’d tease me about cheesecake. He was a steady player, good with cards and reading the table, a regular winner. He was smart, which I knew, both from his play and from a long ago conversation when we had briefly talked at a costume party (where I was Little Red Riding Hood and he showed up as himself). I had given him a nickname…I wasn’t sure he even knew mine.
And then one Monday at work, I asked for his number.
I’m not sure what I expected, or why. I just did.
A week after the exchange of numbers, his hand spent a lot of the night under my dress, as long as his cards were in the muck. There’s not been a single day since that we haven’t texted.
Our first kiss was in a parking lot, a long kiss after a quick dinner of Japanese appetizers. No need for more, we both had other things on our mind besides food. I was surprised by the kiss; he pulled me in close as I neared my car, his lips soft but urgent, as if he needed to feel mine as badly as he needed to breathe.
Our plan was a hotel room, a place across the street from dinner, an evening together though we’d never even kissed before that moment. We had giggles as we checked in, both from nerves and from the older lady checking in ahead of us, a private joke we now share together.
We spent the next couple of hours in bed, rarely stopping, except for soft touches while in long conversations about our lives, religion, reincarnation. I loved listening to him talk about his work; his passion fascinates me as much as his intelligence. For the life of me now, I’m not sure why we parted so soon that night. Perhaps it was my request? Was it his? I only remember that we did, after a couple more orgasms and considerable amounts of Spanish being whispered in my ear.