house always wins

The house always wins.
…..whose house?
Love’s a gamble we all want to make
but no one wants to admit
they might have chosen wrong.

Happiness is painted differently
when you change who holds the brush.
They’re all the right choice.
They’re all the wrong choice.

Darling,
You were sawdust and ladders
salt kisses on empty beaches
quiet looks across crowded rooms
and secrets in the shadows.

Sweetheart,
You were hotel room keys
late night phone calls
a single flower, a kiss to the neck
and making them all jealous.

Babe,
You were fireworks,
amusement parks and sunshine,
singing in the car with the windows down
and mint-chocolate milkshakes.

Love,
You were wine while cooking,
debates on books
weekend breakfast dates
and curling up on the couch.

I can see these threads,
different futures, different lives;
beginning here, but ending over the horizon
where joy might exist, or not.
I can reel the narrative out so far,
and then watch then curve and disappear;
choices are just guesswork, after all.

These lives laid out before me,
King – Jack – Ace,
awaiting my choice for who completes my hand,
and yet I’m hiding behind a Queen,
blending without belonging,
taking chances,
hoping they don’t notice that
I was never one of them;
that though they are skilled players,
we are not playing the same game.

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