I taught Mollie poker. I told her you have to learn how to kill people and this is the easiest way to start.
She said, “What do you mean?”
“You have to want to destroy me. To confuse me. To lie to me. To completely obliterate me, take all my money, and laugh in my face so I feel so bad and disgusted that I’ll be nervous the next time we play.”
I taught her the rules. Then we divided up some chips and started playing.
I said, “You’re only 14 so if you get good at poker, you won’t need to go to college. If you get really good at this, you’ll always find ways to survive.”
“How?” she said.
We went back and forth on some hands. She started to try and bluff me sometimes and sometimes it worked.
Sometimes she would bluff, win the hand, and show the cards to make me feel bad that I got bluffed so easily. I was proud.
We played all evening rather than go to a museum. We ordered delivery.
The next day we played again. Sometimes she would “slow play” me. She’d have a monster hand and bet slowly at first to lure me in.
If I didn’t end up with my own big hand, she’d win a lot of money from me. I was proud of her that she was starting to learn the subtleties.
But I also told her that in general, “play your hand”. If you have a good hand, bet aggressive. If you have a weak hand, just get out.
I also told her, “Rarely just call my bet. Either fold or raise me. Be aggressive so I am always challenged.”
“Also, if you always slow play me when you have a big hand, you are giving me too many chances to get a better hand.”
We took a break to go to the bookstore. She showed me her favorite books.
I want to write a young adult novel and asked her which ones I should read. She showed me her favorites.
“Don’t make the popular girls so mean.” She gave me advice on cliches that bad writers do. “Girls who are always mean to everyone don’t end up popular.”
Later we were lying around doing nothing. Like I like to do every afternoon and evening. It’s my most productive activity.
She said, “Do you want to play poker?” And I did. So we played some more. We played until the moment she had to pack to go back to her home.
We started analyzing each hand, bet by bet. I was having fun.
Then I realized: she didn’t care at all about poker.
She just wanted to spend time with me. After a few hours of this she had to go home and I won’t see her again for at least a week.
Two people communicate best when they speak the same language. She figured out the languages I liked to speak.
I don’t know if I did the same for her.
She killed me.