The Sixth Ace

For years, I’ve had 2 recurring dreams, not every night but at least once every few months.  I wrote about the first one back when I first was writing this blog: Year into it all.  The second dream is one I’ve thought about many times.  I always wake before I “know” what happens with my last card.

It starts off with an invitation to play a hand of poker from a beautiful young woman.  She says I really have no choice but to play.  However, I may walk away from the hand once dealt at any point.  She points out I can always fold.  After all, I am playing with only what she has given me, a chance.  “A chip and a chair is all we ever get with this life, and here’s your chips.”  Evidently, I am to play this middle aged woman in a game of poker, but as the game goes on it becomes apparent I am playing for something more than a chip or a monetary treasure.  As I look at the dealer, I realize it is an older woman, and all three of the women look incredibly alike.  It’s as if they could be identical  twins except for their ages. 

When I ask them if they are related, they all laugh.  “Of course we are.  We are like three ends of a rope tasked with pulling it all together.”  This makes no sense!  Why am I playing against a middle aged woman who obviously has close ties with the dealer?  I’m being set up, and I hate being the fool.

The dealer looks at my concern and says, “Look at your cards.  Have they been unfair?  Have you had all bad hands?  You seem to have won more than half your hands.  You have been lucky.” 

The middle aged woman looks at me and says, “Have you guessed yet who we are?” 

I think before I reply, “You are like the fates: the spinner, weaver and cutter.  Am I close?  I think I remember reading about them in Greek mythology or maybe it was Shakespeare.”  I was shocked as they nodded saying I was closer than most.

“So you know from your life, you’ve not been cheated by the spinner or weaver.  Now that you have a stake your recognize, I have been tasked with playing you but one more hand, this one.  You may look at your first 2 cards.”  I have the ace of spades and diamonds.  As I think about betting, the fates laugh.

“You can’t bet.  You only get to choose whether or not to fold.  It’s not like you can hide what you have from us. Since you would bet, I gather you think you have been dealt well in the matters of family and hearth.  Will you continue?  If you fold at any point, you will live an ordinary life.  The question is will you be more or less?”

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Of course!  Who folds aces?  My third card is the ace of hearts.  Woohoo. “I gather you would continue as you now know your life will contain love?” says the middle aged woman.  “Fair warning, the last two cards are dealt at once, though you will have the option to bet or fold after you pick up your 4th and see my 5.  If you continue to play, you will then flip your 5th and final card.”

My fourth card was the Ace of clubs.  I was asked if I wanted to wager the successes of my life on this hand, and I said “Of course.”  At this point, a man whom I had somehow missed stepped out of the shadows laughing.

“Why do so many men think they have won?  Come now Lady Lach.  Show the man the value of his Aces.”  Lady Lachesis (whose name I hardly ever catch) frowns as she slowly flips her cards. 

10 of spades
Jack of spades
Queen of spades
King of spades…and I feel myself about to throw up…and the
Ace of spades.

How?  I have the ace of spades.  I have all four aces!  How could I lose? The man who came out of the shadows steps up right behind the dealer and says, “You can see you’ve lost.  Why even bother turning over the last card.  Just throw the hand in and walk away the second place, average loser you are meant to be.”

As I go to throw in the hand, something gives me pause.  I just can not walk away from four aces.  I look right at the older woman now with tears in her eyes and the shadowy me standing behind her.  In that moment, I stop and decide I will flip the last card.  The man’s eyes widen as he asks, “Would you throw away even an average life to have a life of loss after loss?  For that is what you risk if you flip the last card.”

“If I am dealt 4 aces, it’s a hand to be played not given up.  If I  throw it away, then I deserve all the losses you say I risk by playing.  We’ve got 5 aces in play now.  What’s to say there isn’t a 6th under my hand now?  I don’t know if 5 of a kind beats a royal flush, but if it does not then I lived a heck of a hand.”

I always wake up as I flip the last card, never getting to see it.  The last few times though, I wake up almost swearing I hear laughter, but I’m never sure who was laughing as the voices sound different from the others in the dream.

I told this dream story to a lady I play poker with on Mondays, and she thinks it has meaning if I keep having it.  I told her it already has meaning.  I live it daily.  I was born to a family who gave me everything I need to have a meaningful life.  I have a good job which lets me lead the life I wish to live.  I have 3 wonderful, inspiring kids.  I have a beautiful wife whom I loved for years even before we married.  I have my 4 aces.

The royal straight is MS.

I am still not folding.  Someday I will look back and see whether I drew my 5th ace, the 6th in the deck.  Some day, I may learn if 5 aces wins.  Until then, what a ride it is to live the life of four aces.