I went left instead of right

That’s what they tell me. But I don’t believe it. I look down at the cards I’m dealt, and I’m reminded of old photo albums of family vacations. Vacations to states I’ve never been to before, and I’ll never visit again. Old faded photos, where the color is disappearing and the clothes are so out of style they’re cool again. That’s what I always think of. Then I trade in an ace and hope for the best. Should have kept the ace. Those family vacations were always a trip. I did my best to get lost, to be the poor child to have his parents paged over the loud speaker. I just didn’t like doing the family thing, everything boiling down to the lowest common denominator, the kid sister. It made me sick. I wanted something interesting, something more worth my time. So I lagged behind, I went left instead of right. I got away from the tea cups and balloons, and went for the water and the sun. I’d wander around by myself, eyeing the girls and trying to guess how old they were. I was usually wrong. I’d watch a group of them giggling together, and follow them along the streets. Then a boyfriend would show up, and he’d be twice my size. I dropped my gaze, and wandered on. In the photo albums I’m always standing off to the side, by myself, trying to get away. That’s probably why I always end up folding. I never get dealt the hand I want, and I end up chasing it, searching for it, and then cashing in my chips and heading home, looking for my parents and brother and kid sister in the play land, with the colored balls and candy coated goods. That’s what they always tell me.

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