Thursday, November 22, 2012

EPISODE 58 – THE GAMBLER’S STORY

You got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

These lines are the chorus of one of my favourite Oldies tracks by Kenny Rogers titled ‘The Gambler’. In it, Rogers talked about how he met a gambler on a train who schooled him in the art of gambling. I’ll paraphrase what he learnt in as few words as possible. In the game of Poker, the gambler has to know how to read the signs and take the right steps. He needs to know when to hold his cards and call other players’ bluff. He needs to know when to fold his cards and ultimately, he should know when to walk away. At times, it is not easy to ‘just walk away’ because you could easily be tempted to return to the table. In such cases, it’s safer to run! Confidence could also be very deceptive in a gamble. Don’t count your money while sitting at a poker table. You’ll have all the time to do that after you have survived the game. The game is all about choices and the wrong choice could lead to a loss in the game. Now, I bet I sound like a Poker Master or something. Funny enough, I’ve never played the game but sometimes, our experiences in life are reminiscent of a poker game and we find out we have to make similar choices.

Source
As I approached the bed, my heart continued to beat furiously. At some point, I wondered if it wouldn’t explode in my chest. I had heard of cases of heart attacks and all but I was also aware most victims were usually in their forties or fifties and above and I was not even yet twenty-two! As I tried to dismiss the possibility, I thought of Samuel Okwaraji, a Nigerian footballer with his statue in front of the National Stadium, Surulere. I heard he had slumped and died while playing against Angola sometime in 1989. I began to imagine if he had been older or younger than 22. Now, this was all before 23-year old Fabrice Muamba of Bolton Wanderers had his heart attack this year. This was 2007! Anyways, I reassured myself that I couldn’t possibly die of a heart attack. My heart had withstood more than enough stress for three heart attacks in one that day alone and I was still breathing so what the hell?

Cher’s sobs continued and in the pitch darkness, I tried to visualize her sleeping frame on the bed. I could barely see a thing and I had decided otherwise against turning on my phone to aid my vision. Finally, I got to the bed and knelt beside it. I could now feel her close by and my vision of her slightly improved. I was sure she felt my presence as the sobbing ceased suddenly and she turned.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
The question took me by surprise and I registered her nervousness. What was she thinking? I wondered. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness much more and I could see her faintly. She looked scared and vulnerable. I hoped she didn’t think I was going to rape her or something! I realized I had caused her to imagine something ridiculous and I knew I had to clear the air immediately.
“I’m not  . . . You were crying, Cher.” I managed in a calm tone.
“Sorry. I just had a lot on my mind,” she sniffed.

I was too overwhelmed to speak for a minute. This girl clearly had multiple personalities. I could hardly believe this was the same girl who had nearly made me wet my pants that afternoon; the same girl who had been so full of life in the bar and in the café. Here she was, weeping herself red before me for no definite reason. Oh, right! I quickly corrected. She said she had a lot of things on her mind. What things did she have on her mind that would make her weep so sorely? I was as angry as a wounded lion myself considering the way the day had turned out for me and all I had just wanted to do was sleep and wake up to another day without Cher’s intrusion. However, watching her sob calmed every rage I felt towards her.
“I’m sorry if I screamed at you, Cher. I was really frustrated at the way . . .” I began, wondering if I wasn’t saying nonsense but she interrupted me almost immediately.
“No, Geebee. Don’t apologize.” She said. “I should be the one apologizing. I really made a mess of your day and have caused you so much trouble and . . .” She broke off and began to sob again. I sighed. This was going to be one hell of a night, I decided.

SEE YOU IN THE NEXT EPISODE OF THE GEEBEE CHRONICLES.
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LOL. Got you there, didn’t I? That was a joke to test how mad the suspense-haters would be. The story continues.

“Cher, it’s alright. I’m not angry.” I said, really meaning it. Any residual anger I felt had vanished. All that mattered to me at that moment was to stop the tears of the lady on my bed. I was indeed a sucker for sobbing women (and still am. LOL). Still, her sobs continued.
“I just feel so bad. I’ve always been such an awful person!” she said.
“Wow! Come on, don’t say such words.” I consoled. “The fact that we do some wrong things doesn’t necessarily make us bad. It just makes us human.”
“Really?” she scoffed. “What if you’re trying to sleep with your sister’s boyfriend? Won’t that make you a bad person?”
My heart exploded! I dropped dead! I woke up and saw myself in Heaven. The Lord told me it wasn’t yet time for me to come home and sent me back. I woke up again. It took all of three seconds.
“I’m just kidding,” she said quickly and smiled. I beheld her smile in the darkness and it took me forever to heave a deep sigh of relief. I could feel the perspiration all over my body at that moment and it dawned on me how scared of this girl I really was. Apparently, I was attracted to her and it made her words have such a crazy effect on me. Gradually, I recovered and managed a smile at her humour. The real Cher was back. I was glad she was no longer sobbing.

“Wow! You’ve blushed all over. Did you really take me serious?” she mocked.
I winced. “Of course not!” I said in quick defense, even though I knew it was a blatant lie. “You are crazy, I tell you.” I added with a forced smile.
“And that’s why you like me, right?” she teased.
“Hmmm, kind of.” I agreed.
“So, you do like me then?” Cher pushed.

Source
I hesitated for a moment. It was time to go back to sleep, I decided. My mission had been accomplished. She had stopped sobbing. In fact, I was beginning to wish I had left her to sob especially now that she was back in the saddle and torturing me all over again. It was time for the gambler to walk away or better still, run! 
“Cher, you should get some sleep,” I said. “It’s almost one a.m and you have to be out of here very early tomorrow or else . . .”
“Or else, BG would storm your place with the marines, right?” she cut in.
That thought had not even crossed my mind. I had wanted to say she had to leave very early or else she would be stuck in the early morning Lekki-Epe expressway traffic.
“I was not even thinking about that!” I said angrily. “And no, BG wouldn’t dare do that!”
Cher smiled again. “Well, maybe if it was someone else besides me here at your place, she wouldn’t.”

I was shocked and recalled the things BG had always told me about her sister and how she was the black sheep of the family and all but I had never envisaged BG could see Cher as such a threat to her relationship.
“I thought you were sisters.” I said. “Why would she think you’re capable of such?”
“I don’t know. I am always misunderstood by everyone and it hurts so much!” Cher said and broke into a sob again.
“I have not really been the best example of a person so everyone at home sees me as an outcast.” She continued. “I have a mind of my own and it’s been so difficult to find someone who truly understands me. I have no friends . . .”

Instinctively, I reached out to touch her face. I moved closer until my head was close to hers and I held her head in my hands. “It’s alright. You’ll find someone who understands you for who you are someday. You’re not a bad person.”
In the darkness, I could feel her eyes boring into mine. I felt my head move closer and I kissed her lightly on the lips. I had meant it to be a light goodnight kiss but somehow, it lasted longer than expected. I realized I was kissing her and . . . Good heavens! She was kissing me right back!

SEE YOU IN THE NEXT EPISODE OF THE GEEBEE CHRONICLES

Meanwhile, I should announce that THE GEEBEE CHRONICLES has been named the BEST PERSONAL BLOG (Judges' Choice) in the 2012 Nigerian Blog Awards

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