Sunday, April 5, 2009

Opening The Vault: Part Thirty One

Traveling with a significant other can be a bumpy ride -- especially if your relationship is already on shaky ground. A trip to Vegas with California-based beau Mark (a.k.a Sparky) turned out to be anything but a vacation.

The Desperado: Sparky and I rode this legendary roller coaster at Buffalo Bill’s Casino on our way to Vegas

Things started out well enough, with a scenic drive from L.A. that had us stopping at the Nevada border to experience The Desperado, one of the world’s fastest roller coasters. Upon arriving in Sin City, though, our growing differences -- and frustration about being a bicoastal couple -- reached a fever pitch. I now Open The Vault and take you back to the summer of 1995...

June 5th, 1995
Las Vegas, NV

Dear Diary,

As Sparky and I headed down to the casino, my mind drifted to when we went to Atlantic City together and I was so miserable. Tonight, although I was kind of bored, I didn’t mind sitting at the crap table -- because I knew we had a nice evening to look forward to.

My good spirits diminished somewhat, though, when Mark spent so much time gambling that we only had time for fast food before the show.

Arm in arm, we made our way to the MGM Grand for EFX, a special effects-laden extravaganza (3D footage, dazzling choreography and even a little manufactured rain) starring Phantom of the Opera’s Michael Crawford.

I did my best to concentrate on the show, but unhappy thoughts began weighing me down. It started when our waiter accidentally spilled something on the back of Mark’s jacket. I could tell that his mood changed considerably after this.

I found myself wanting nothing more than to go to bed. The combined effects of alcohol and jetlag were getting to me, and Mark’s coldness only made me feel worse.

It was after midnight when EFX ended. I practically flew out of the theater, which prompted Mark to say I was walking too fast and me to tense up immediately.

When he asked me what I wanted to do and I lied and said--

“Whatever you want.”

A fight ensued and Mark sat down to play the slots. Trying to salvage what was left of the night, I suggested we go dancing in the hotel lounge. Mark rejected the idea and an awkward silence persisted for several minutes.

Upon exiting the Grand, Mark held my hand tightly as we encountered a fierce wind. Thinking the inclement weather had softened him, I said hopefully--

“I guess we survived our first fight, huh?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Mark replied tersely. “You’re the one with the problem.”

I was furious but too tired to argue over something inane. What I did want to make an issue over was Mark ignoring my request and stopping in the casino for 15 minutes.

How could he be so inconsiderate? I wondered.

* * *
In hindsight, I can’t help looking back at this episode and asking a more obvious question -- how come I didn’t just tell Sparky I was tired and go back to our room? I think I was wary of provoking another argument. Little did I realize that we were on a downward spiral too rapid for either of us to stop.

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