Jan 222009


Two weeks ago, I went over a friend’s house to attempt my hand at Spades. Before any cards were dealt, I forewarned everyone that I was pretty much card-retarded, and that it would probably take me awhile to catch on. I was wrong:  it was ridiculously confusing and frustrating, and I never really did catch on. We were even showing our hands and every time it was my turn to announce how many tricks (hoes? whores?) I had, I would swallow nervously and ask my partner to do it for me because I just didn’t understand it. Suffice to say, it was not very fun. (Well, until we switched to Uno Attack, which was designed for the braindead, like me.) Still, I left that night hating cards.

The next day, I dwelled on it. I remembered how my old friend Allison (aka Cinn) used to come over and we’d play Gin. Even though I always had to be retaught as the cards were being shuffled, I always associate that game to lots of laughter and good times. And wine, I associate it with bottles of wine and purple-stained lips.

I haven’t seen Allison in three years. We speak sporadically on the phone, but my invitations to her are usually awkwardly ignored. I know she has weird feelings toward kids, and I figured she was being avoidant. But when she said she and her boyfriend would come over that following Saturday to play cards, I couldn’t help but feel excited. Henry frowned and voiced his uncertainty, but I just felt like maybe this was it, maybe this would be the invitation she would follow through on.

I emailed her during the week to see if she was still coming, but she didn’t reply. I called her twice and texted her once the day of, and still nothing. I started sulking, feeling sorry for myself, and Henry was all, “After all this time, you would think it wouldn’t bother you anymore.” And I know it seems like she’s a shitty friend, but the truth is that she was always more than a friend to me, more like the sister I never had. When I really need her, she’s there, and that includes rushing me to the hospital when the occasion calls. Our history is bizarre, abnormal, sometimes laden with distrust and resentment, but I believe that we have a fierce loyalty for each other. I can’t explain it, and I know my other friends don’t understand it. My best friend Christina, who has never met Allison, has admitted that Allison will always be a mystery to her. And really, I  guess she is to me, as well.

So last Saturday, I whined about it, I sent out bitter tweets, I cursed and spit at the entire fucked up institution of friendship. And then she called me to tell me that she and her boyfriend Bill were going to be here around 8:30. I know I lit up like a kid whose deadbeat dad had remembered her birthday for the first time in six years.

cinn2Chooch was still up when they arrive. He took to her immediately. She teased him mercilessly and he seemed to eat it up. After he went to bed, she admitted that she was nervous to meet him. I know that’s a big reason why she hasn’t been around these past few years, and I hope that will change now that she sees he’s a pretty alright kid.

When we sat down to start playing cards, it was like nothing had ever changed. Cinn started laughing for no reason while I was dealing, prompting me to yell, “What? What did I do? Meanwhile, Cinn is crying from laughing so hard, and I still don’t know why, but this is just how it is when we’re together. I do nothing and she laughs her way to a stomachache.

“Every picture you have of me, I’m either eating, or crying from laughing!” she cried.

Sitting there with her, listening to synthpop, drinking wine from spider glasses, it was like no time had passed. It was like we had just gone to the Dracula’s Ball last week, not ten years ago; it was as though she had just kicked an unwanted Canadian out of my house last month, not eight years ago. (I am not anti-Canada. This was an isolated incident.)

henrycardsHenry was annoyed because I kept winning. And because I kept taking breaks during hands to play the “remember when” game, and to swivel in my chair to put a different song on, and to continuously splash wine down my gullet until I was so giddy (see also: drunk)  I couldn’t see the cards in the discard pile.

“I thought you didn’t know how to play this,” Henry scoffed at one point. My motto was: I don’t care who wins, as long as Henry loses.

And he lost, alright. In so many ways.

After they left that night, I went through that awful whirlwind of emotions that often strikes after a bittersweet encounter. I feel like, even though we let so much time lapse in card-playing and  friendship, that it all came back so easily.  It always does, every time. I’m trying not to get too excited about it, though, because I don’t want to be let down.

Seeing Cinn again made me realize how badly I miss having a good friend here in this city; someone I can call up just to talk about the day I had, meet up for coffee, or just hang out at each others houses. I haven’t had that in a very long time.

And while I was sorting through all these mixed emotions, Henry informed me that we were actually playing 500, so I got to add “deceived” to the frothy feelings cocktail.

  10 Responses to “We should have played for money”

  1. Is it just me or does henry kinda look like jesus in that picture?? Quick, has henry ever walked on water? Do you know where he’s getting all that wine you keep drinking?? good story by the way, it’s always suprising to hear about your softer side and i was curious what those tweets were about

    • No, he totally does! I’ve teased him about that a few times, too. He usually wears a hat so it’s always kind of jarring to see him like that.

      I try not to show my soft side too often, but it’s there. Shh!!!

  2. I approve of the Jesus look, I do! And the look on his face. But my favorite picture is of him holding the cards. That’s the best one.

    Cinn is crying from laughing so hard, and I still don’t know why, but this is just how it is when we’re together.


    There’s your best truth in this post.

  3. i’m so glad that you got to spend time with cinn, and she met chooch. sounds like you guys had a great time. :)

    p.s i wouldn’t play any game with you that had “attack” in the title.

  4. you sound like myself playing cards…I never understand the rules, and I’m focusing so hard on trying to learn (or at least not majorly screw up) that I don’t even have fun.

    And she sounds like my friend Claude, who is so flaky and backs out of far more invitations than she follows through with, but when she does come around, she is the best friend in the world to me, so I forgive her flakiness and just enjoy her when I do manage to see her.

    and I like the way you string photos through your entries, it makes them much more vivid.

    • Yes, that’s how Allison is! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown my hands up in defeat, but in the end she means too much to me to walk away. I just had to get to that point where I realized this is just who she is and I can’t force her to want to hang out. But I know that doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about me, blah blah blah.

      And thank you! <3

  5. I’m totally happy to hear that I’m not the only person alive who is card-retarded. Because I really, really am. Unless it’s Go Fish, Solitaire or Uno, I pretty much suck. My ex tried to teach me how to play poker once, and I ended up getting annoyed and refusing to play anymore after I couldn’t catch on.

    I love your photos in your stories, by the way. They always paint such a great picture of your posts. Those photos are awesome.

    Jessa´s last blog post..It Never Fails

    • I’m so glad I’m not alone in this boat! I would love to be able to learn poker but absolutely no one has the patience to teach me.

      I love your photos as well, but you know that!

  6. oh shit look at my dad all hardass and shit
    with his tattoo showing and his mid 80’s tee.
    he shudda had a zippo and a cigarette in his mouth
    with his cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve like
    stand by me.

    my phones been off but i get it turned off saturday
    and ill come over. since my dad doesnt call me
    just sends me texts and i cant answer them haha

    and always play for money. (:

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