Mary perched on a vacant stool and looked beside her to the man sitting next to her. The place was noisy and busy but Mary couldn’t just sit there quietly. She never could.
“Have you been here long”, she said loudly to the man.
“Just a few hours”, the man replied.
“I just wanted to get away. I always end up here.”, Mary said.
Mary continued not aware whether the man was listening or not. Mary was not very socially adapted to notice the nuances of social interaction.
“I work two jobs and they take money from my check to pay for my chapter 13. I haven’t paid my mortgage in two years. And I’m getting divorced from my husband who is addicted to pain meds and charged my cards to their limits for medical marijuana. My boyfriends just use me and then dump me. This is the only place where I’m happy but my friends don’t understand. So I don’t see them much anymore.”
Just then the man next to Mary got up and moved to another stool further away.
After a while, an older woman sat on the stool next to Mary. Mary told her, “I hope you have better luck than the previous person.”
The older woman smiled and said, “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I was lucky.”
That got Mary started, “I wish I was lucky! I work two jobs to pay off my bankruptcy. My husband who I’m divorcing charged up my credit cards for medical marijuana and pain meds. He won’t work because of back pain. He gets SSI and still expects me to pay all the bills. Thank goodness, I can come here and be happy. No one understands not even my therapist.”
The older woman scowled, “You’re quite the downer, aren’t you? If you don’t shut up, I’m going to take my bag to you. I don’t need any bad mojo, you hear!”
Mary just went back to her slot machine until she couldn’t stand the silence and left for the day.Photo by mRio