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Creative Corner

“Casinos” by Louise Figueirido

My life used to be filled with greatness. I had a beautiful wife, two kids, a house, a good paying job. I had everything I could ever have asked for. This all change the day I went to the local casino with a couple of friends from high school. It started off good but got worse as the night went on. I found myself not being able to put down a drink. I kept wasting my money on the machines and on the games that I never won. This is the root of my alcoholic and gambling ways. I kept dragging myself to the same casino, throwing hundreds of dollars at one time. I became addicted. Nothing made me happy. I never wanted to see my family. My job became almost impossible to do. My life slipped away from me.

Days, weeks, months went by with me drinking at any moment of the day. I used to only drink on the weekends. Then it changed to every day but only at night. Then it progressed to drinking at work and at home. Pretty much, my main source of hydration was alcohol. I was gambling whenever I had free time. If I had a lunch break, I was trying to gamble. I lost my job shortly after my addiction started. I wasn’t making any money but I kept returning back to the casino. Since I didn’t have a job, I was there pretty much all day and night. Spending money that I couldn’t afford. Whenever I was home, I was always drinking. I either was passed out or had a beer in my hand. I noticed that my kids never wanted to come by me anymore. They would come home from school and go straight to their rooms. My wife barely ever talked to me anymore. She would cook dinner and spend time in the kitchen looking on the computer or reading magazines. When I ran out of money I looked towards my wife. She had a job so I began to take her money and use it to alcohol and gambling. I took money out my kids college funds. I did anything to get money. I did anything to get alcohol.

One night I came home around 3:30am to find my wife sitting on the dining room table. She looked exhausted and had papers lying on the table. I was drained from my day. All I wanted to do was sleep. I didn’t want to deal with any of her.

“ What’s all this?” I said.

“ I never expected this to ever happen. I had always thought we would have made it. But I don’t know who you are anymore. I can’t do this….” said my wife, Jane.

“Get on with it Jane. I’m tired. Say it already,” I yelled.

“ I want a divorce.” Jane said calmly.

“What! A divorce. What the Hell Jane. What is wrong with you. I love you. We have always loved each other,” I said.

“I’m sorry but you have changed. All you do is drink and gamble. Our kids don’t need to be around that. You stopped caring. You care more about the next drink than the fact that you son is soon to be graduating from the fifth grade,” said Jane.

“No! Come on. We love each other. You are my only love. I can’t….” I pleaded.

“ I used to love you. I used to want to spend time with you but. I just can’t do it anymore. Your out of control,” Jane said.

I didn’t say anything else. All I could do is run. I left the house and drove away. I went straight to the casino. I sat at the bar the whole night, drinking one after another. I couldn’t stop. I was so drunk that I passed out in the bathroom of the casino. I later woke up in my car in the empty parking lot of the casino. I felt terrible and disgusting. I drove back home hoping to find my wife cooking breakfast.

I walked through the front door and found the house empty. There was furniture but no artwork or kid toys. There were papers and a note on the table. The note read:

To a father and a husband,

I’m sorry that this has happened but it’s for the best. Our kids were not happy. I was not happy. And I know you were not happy. I want you to be still in our lives but not like this. Please find help. Our kids need a strong father. The papers must be filled out by February twenty-seventh or you will lose complete visiting rights with your kids. Hope the future is brighter than the past. Good-bye.

Love,

Your family

I looked through the papers. All I could do was think. Until this day, I was so blinded that I didn’t even know I was hurting my family. The alcohol, the gambling–but especially the casino are the causes of me losing my family. They will pay for what they had done.

I sat at the dining room table just staring at the papers. Every time I started to read I thought about my family then I thought about the casino and how it ruined my life. After a couple of hours I couldn’t take it anymore. The casino was going down. I grabbed a baseball bat from the garage and drove away. For awhile, I just drove aimlessly. I didn’t have a destination. I just replayed the letter over and over again in my head. My life was in complete destruction.I wanted it to go back to normal. I wanted to start over. But mostly I wanted the casino to know they were the cause of this all.

I drove up to the casino. I parked and sat in my car for long time. I watched the people walk in. They had no idea what this place could be doing to them. I was built up with anger. I felt like I could burst at any moment. I grabbed my baseball bat and walked in there. As I entered the door my emotion began to intoxicate me. I destroyed any machine I could find. I broke all the tables. The glasses broke into millions of tiny pieces. The alcohol fell to the ground. I screamed at the top of my lungs. My arms wouldn’t stop swinging. I was tackled to the ground by security but my body wouldn’t stop. The cops came shortly after and I was handcuffed and found myself sitting in the back of their car. The weird thing was that I found myself at a peaceful state of mind. I looked out the window and just kept thinking that everything was going to be better.

That day I spent my time in a jail cell. I was given one phone call. I called my ex wife to tell her I filled the papers out and would hope to stay in contact. I told her I was getting help and that everything was going to change. She had many questions as to where I was and who was helping me but I never answered them. I didn’t want her to know what I had done.

The day came to where I had to go to court. I wasn’t expecting anything but what I rightfully deserved. I knew what I did. I wasn’t going to be found not guilty. I walked into the courthouse and found my wife sitting in the crowd of people. I was shocked and froze. She had a look a scaredness but also a look of willing to understand. Her being there was what put me over the edge. From that moment on I knew what my goal was in life. I was going to get better and make it better for her and my kids. My kids were going to have a strong father. I turned everything around.

I was sentenced to two years in the county jail. But this was the first time in a long time that I felt like I was doing good. I couldn’t drink or gamble. All I could do was reflect. Which helped more than anything. But the best thing was that my family came back to me. I get letters and pictures of my kids. Jane and I were on good terms. My kids and I were regaining our relationship.  They even sometimes come on my visiting hours. I planned out my life from there on. I wanted to live in a different city than where I had been living. I was thinking maybe Seattle or San Diego. I would then find a job and have my own apartment. I couldn’t wait for what the future held for me.

After only eight months, I was released from jail because of good behavior. I quickly found a place in Seattle, Washington to settle down. I found a job at a construction company and began working there. I was working five days a week and even had off on the weekends. Jane and my kids visited once a month. That was the highlight of my time. Just being able to see them. Once I settled into my new lifestyle and had enough money for other people my kids started coming by themselves for the weekends. Although it wasn’t often, every time they came it made my life even better. My life was better than it had been for the longest time. I was finally back at it. Now I don’t even think about drinking or gambling. All I think about is being there for my kids and providing for them.

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