He needs to leave. He's been down this path before so many times and knows the outcome if he stays. If he stays he gets to go through the ritualistic process of self loathing, of panic, of helplessness. He tries to bring those past emotions and thoughts to the forefront of his mind now. "Just continue to think and walk...and breathe", he tells himself. He believes he is logical, that he is rational and responsible. He believes he can use this logic to overcome his addiction; his responsibility will ultimately balance out his impulse.
He is walking now, but he doesn't know where to. His steps are purposeful and ones conditioned out of routine, his feet know where to take him. His mind is on auto pilot now, perfectly aligned with his steps; they never let him down. They know what it is that he needs.
He's there, standing in front of it and laughing on the inside how could he ever fear something so trivial? He is in front of the roulette wheel, where he needed yo be. Why would he he ever want to walk past it and deny himself the emotional ecstasy? He is self assured, he is on top of the world and feels at home; he is high. His feet never let him down.
As soon as he takes his seat the feeling of anticipation and adrenaline wash over him. It's cleansing and powerful. His senses are elevated, heightened in a way he imagines a predatory animal is before the hunt. He takes out his money and places itin front of the attendant. As she reaches for it, he flashes her a smile and asks for nickels. He is happy because iswhere he needs to be, he knows the terminology and etiquette so that nothing feels or looks out of place. He is elated, happier than he has been in days and overwhelmed with purpose.
Placing his bets on the table he is focused and deliberate. The call for final bets is ushered out by the croupier and the tiny polished ball is released in a vicious spin as it orbits the wheel in spectacular fashion. The fifteen seconds it takes the ball to finally lose momentum and fall into one of the thirty-eight possible spaces feels feel like fifteen hours. His heartbeat is racing, he doesn't even breathe. He just needs to watch it spin with a singular focus, trying to will it to stop in one of "his" spaces. It taunts him and evades the spots he had so carefully bet on. He hates this wheel, this game, these people that suffocate him and his purpose, but he stays because, after all, it's only a matter of time before he scores a huge winning hit.
Reaching into his wallet seems effortless and automated and more money is converted into clay currency. Just rinse and repeat, another loss and another loss. He needs to bet bigger, surely the next spin will be the winner; he has to win it back.
Everything is blurry and out of focus and individual actions go unnoticed, he can only recognize the ball spinning, and with its spinning it carries his very purpose. How long has he been holding his breath? Twenty seconds? A minute? Three? His chest hurts but maybe it's the adrenaline. Everyone must be able to hear his heart pumping in his chest. His demeanor has changed. His look is stern, his posture aggressive. The glimmer in his eye replaced with a look of malice, and as the ball finally comes to stop in one of his spaces, he barely recognizes it or cares. There is no rush of excitement or celebration for winning his money back. He deserved to win the entire time; the fact it has taken so long is an annoyance. "Keep betting, win more." He thinks because the game owes him that much. He can't be content with this win when there are several more to come. It would be a disservice to himself if he left now.
Each bet is bigger than the last and each spin brings the familar result of losing. He continues to reach in his wallet for more so long as there is more to supply him. His mind is shut off now. He can't compute. He can't think. He doesn't want to feel. More than anything he wants to be left without feeling. Feeling hurts too much.
Deep down, part of him knows the truth: that staying was never about winning more, that it was about losing it all. He needs to lose it all because it's the only thing more powerful than winning. Only when he has lost it all can he be free from everything that binds and restricts him. Winning means progress and it means continuing with the plan he set out for. Winning means more thinking and saving and responsibility and change. He can continue to work towards starting over.
Losing is what he wanted all along. It's safe and familiar. Then there is nothing to work towards, nothing to save for, no stress, no pain, just nothing. He wants to be free. When there is nothing left in his wallet and no chips in front of him he knows he has accomplished what he set out for. He is completely numb, he can't feel, he can't think, there is nothing.