If you ever feel like truly testing your luck in life, why not take a drive downtown to one of our country's very own sin cities. Montecassino, Grand West, Emperor's Palace. A metropolis of entertainment, bright lights, high rollers and Sunday buffets. A dazzling place where one's destiny can change at the spin of a wheel; where handsome croupiers know how to play their cards right and a good bluff could save your ass when the chips are down. Of course, the gaming industry is nowhere near as glamorous as Las Vegas. You can bet your bottom Man-dollah that you won't find patrons in designer couture or suave tuxedos like Casino Royale. You're more likely to come across a bunch of old maids and addicts sitting around slot machines in sweats and sneakers, sipping on Savannah Lights and chain-smoking until their luck has run out. It's a pensioner's paradise.
While blowing away one's hard-earned cash on something as frivolous as a slot machine may seem like fun and a good night out, I couldn't help but wonder about love and its relation to gambling. Every day, we place our hearts on the table, betting against each other in a war of wits for the grandest prize of all: to be loved. It doesn't matter how high the stakes are. When fate throws us one relationship after the next, we're going to keep playing until we finally hit the cosmic jackpot. It's the ultimate gamble for the ultimate prize, and sometimes, not everybody wins. Personality, attractiveness, charm and grace. While winning the game requires a certain amount of skill and expertise, having the right cards at the right time can definitely work in one's favour.
But what about those of us who struggle to accept the crappy hand they've been given? The unfortunate few that are so miserably unlucky in life and in love? Do they shoot the dealer in a friendly game of Russian Roulette or do they just keep spinning until they win? Do they ever win? Surely everybody deserves love in it's purest form so why are there so many losers out there? Is life one big game of craps for them or will they eventually score? Is it all about patience and perseverance or does it boil down to single strokes of luck that only few possess?
Frederika Van Rooyen wasn't lucky or looking for love when she found it. In fact, Fiddy (a name that only her nearest and dearest adopted) seldom gave love the time of day because of her hectic work schedule as an aspiring partner at one of the city's leading law firms. The universe may have dealt her brains, ambition and intellect in abundance, but what she really lacked and secretly longed for was personality, confidence and self-appreciation. I'm not going to lie; Fiddy is what you call a five in the looks department no matter how hard she tried. Never in a million years would you place your bets on her being so lucky in love.
One day, a multimillion-heir from Amsterdam walked into her office in search of someone who could bring down a crooked accountant who had been swindling him out of his family fortune for years. His name was Hans and he was rather hans-ome. There was a quirkiness about him that only Europeans possess which Fiddy found refreshing and interestingly appealing. All of sudden those high school butterflies started flitting around in her stomach. She thought, "it couldn't be, not after all these years of tragic misfortunes and rotten luck?"
Because Fiddy was a genius at what she did, she won the case hands down and made both the client and the law firm a shit load of money. In the process, she made herself junior partner. She was slightly relieved when the whole case was over. It meant that she could get her head out of the clouds and back into reality.
The very next day, she received the most exquisite bouquet of long stemmed roses, yellow, her favourite, with a card from Hans asking her to join him for dinner at 8pm at one of the city's most opulent eateries - you know, the kind that needs a minimum of 4 weeks notice to get a reservation. She thought long and hard about this and decided that it would be rude to pass up this opportunity. It was probably nothing more than a thank you for all the long hours and hard work she had put into the case.
It was Friday night, so she expected the diner to be chock-a-block full of the city's trendy elite. As if she wasn't anxious enough, but when she arrived, there was not a soul in sight. "Welcome, Ms. Van Rooyen. May I take our coat?" purred the Maitre'd. Did Fiddy fall down the rabbit hole? She hesitated for a while as she considered that she might be the victim of some cruel hoax, but there sitting on the far end of the restaurant at a candle-lit table overlooking the mother city, was Hans. Had he bought out the entire restaurant for this one night? WTF?!
"Good evening, Frederika. You look spectacular!"
It was the beginning of a remarkable friendship-turned-romance, a slow but instant win after so many losing streaks. Yes, Hans could probably afford a tiny island with pet tigers and a private landing strip, but behind all that worldly wealth was warmth and personality. He was courteous, kind and an absolute gentleman. Fiddy had no idea what to expect out of this sudden twist of fate. At first, she thought he was some kind of sick Christian Grey-like character with too much money and a bizarre fetish for women that weren't 36-24-36's, but after a while, she realised that she actually scored a soul mate who loved her just the way she was, for her perfections and her imperfections. Isn't that life's biggest prize at the end of the night?
No one really understands the ins and outs of that twisted bitch called Lady Luck. She doth giveth and can thus taketh as often and as freely as she wants, and sometimes her generosity is far more favourable to some than it is to others. Whether it's written in the stars or just pure dumb luck, the only way to win is if we keep rolling the dice until we eventually hit the big time. Just like the many casino's in the world, love can be found everywhere, in different states and in different places. Isn't it time we placed out bets?
When it comes to life's greatest gamble - lemon, lemon, lemon?