My dearest Atlantic City,
You may have heard a rumor that my best friend and I aspire to live in your precious state of New Jersey. While I’m sure this warms your heart, please know, you will never see us. We made a vow – never will we cross your city boundaries, never will we settle into one of your plush, velvet padded chairs and risk our meager earnings. Oh, no.
You see, my dear city, we played on Day Seven. By played, I mean indulged our every vice of greed and gluttony and lust for victory. We stood at the door of the Haunted Hotel and knocked hundreds of times, spilling our points like droplets from a watering can and whipping out expletives like umbrellas every time a shower of failure washed over us. And what do we have to show for it? 5,012 tickets, which equates to:
Two magic eightballs, two pin art boards, two giant erasers, a dozen glow sticks (don’t tell our husbands), a stuffed pig, a Ring Pop, a roll of Smarties, and 37 foaming-at-the-mouth-with-jealousy children.
If real money would have been at stake, we would have lost everything — I doubt your houses of greed offer consolation prizes when your customers get a spider bite.
But we can’t resist when it’s all in fun: the casual sighting of the machine’s purple neon lights, the innocent walk around the whole establishment, as if the other games truly stand a chance with us, the promise of the first card swipe, and the rush of the first button press — my palm is still tingling. We prayed to dead rock stars, casino gods, and each other — all for 100 tickets. Imagine what we would do for $100!
So you see, Atlantic City, we can never meet. I can never sit at your feet and bet whether your pupils will be cherries or sevens or aces. You can never hold me in your velvet embrace and whisper false promises in my ear. We must be distant lovers, you and I, each fulfilled only by the possibility of what the other could be.
The one you will never claim
P.S. See you summer of 2017.