Get On With It, Part One

Posted by Candace Cable in Life After Paralysis on June 15, 2017 # Safety

So, there I was, high up in the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe, it was 3 am on one of the last days of August. I was still standing, as I had for a year, 5 nights to mornings a week, leaning, pushing my hips just a bit forward for stability, into the backside of the half of a circle table as my hands unconsciously fondled or some would say, shuffled the cards I would hand out to the players. I called it fondling because I loved my job. It was a great job, I could talk to people and my days were free. I’d found my place in life to shine and at the age of 21 the only plans I had for the future were to ski in the winter, hike in the summer and work in this casino.

I wore the unremarkable uniform of a dealer, white top – black bottom; it felt like a blank canvas to paint an approachable and memorable masterpiece. I’m considered somewhat tall, 5 foot 7 inches, but you wouldn’t guess that height as you look at me today, but then, wearing 3-inch platform shoes, I was practically 6 feet tall. My big blue eyes needed no enhancements, but my hands that swept around and across the table giving and taking the cards needed to be a distraction so those anxious players would stay with me. I added perfectly manicure red nails that clashed against the green felt to draw them in.

It was my last hour and I was weirdly unusually antsy. Dealing the cards on autopilot when I heard a familiar laugh and looked up to see my boyfriend, Mike and our friend, Dana, walk past my table, laughing, drinks in hand, without even a glance at me. I remember watching them from the corner of my eye, as they disappear heading toward the roulette table and thinking, “they looked drunk.” Mike and I hadn’t been getting along and I knew the relationship was over but I was stuck and just hadn’t made any move to get out and on with it.

Finally, “I’m outta here” time comes. I quickly walked across the casino toward the stairwell, when I hit the door I ran down the stairs to my locker, I grabbed my new ski jacket and my knit hat, both reminded me my 2nd season EVER of skiing was coming soon, and I felt excitement. I had never been an athlete by any stretch of the word but I was hooked on skiing, I felt so free flying down that mountain.

I clock out then raced back up the stairs 2 by 2 to find Mike and Dana, both so drunk they could barely walk. We exited the back door toward the employee parking lot. I said, “ You’re drunk, I’ll drive” Mike quickly replied, “NO I’ll drive,” I repeated my request and it was a request without any real command because at that time in my life I was afraid of confrontation. Mike snapped at me “I’m fine” he grabbed my keys from me and we walked toward my Jeep.

With a sense of resignation and a desire to be out of this moment, I sighed and got in to the passenger seat. Then, slowly an ever so slight feeling dread and worry spread though my body and my mind like molasses. I thought the feeling was about a relationship gone sour, I shook my head and tried to brush the feelings away, but for one moment it felt bigger, like the dark morning was closing in on me, even though there were millions of stars lighting the sky.