Man tricks woman into praying 'for her sin of being divorced' at a casino

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

I have to admit, I spent my late twenties in the throes of gambling addiction. It was just so exciting until I lost all my savings and maxed out my credit cards. That made things a bit less exciting.

One early afternoon, I was at the casino, sitting at my favorite video slot machine. Who am I kidding? They were all my favorite.

I had a hundred bucks in twenty-dollar bills rolled up and clutched in my sweaty left hand, and I was using my right hand to work the machine when an older man sat down in the chair next to me. I couldn't help but notice that he didn't add money to the corresponding machine.

Keeping my shoulders rounded and hunched, I worked hard to avoid eye contact, which should have been easy since he was sitting on the side of me, and I had no intention of looking up. The man ruined my plans by speaking.

"Wow. Look at that. You've already won a hundred dollars," he commented as he looked at the dollar amount on the corner of the screen.

"It's not that great," I replied. "I already lost two hundred dollars in this machine before you got here." I turned to face him briefly.

The man looked aghast. "Two hundred dollars?" he repeated. "What are you? Crazy?"

I tried to ignore him after that, but he wouldn't stop talking. I don't know how it happened, but I found myself sitting facing him, knees to knees.

"Are you married?" he asked.

I scoffed. "No," I replied. "I'm divorced."

"I'm sorry to hear that," he said.

"Don't be sorry," I replied. "I'm very happy about it."

"Will you pray with me?" he asked.

My religious inclinations wax and wane, but I've been to enough church services to figure we could say a quick prayer and then I could get back to my slot machine. No harm done. "Sure," I replied.

"Close your eyes," he instructed. He took both my hands in his own, and I clutched the sweaty hundred bucks more tightly in my fist as he prayed.

I was reasonably sure he was after my moist crumpled cash, but I didn't want to be rude.

"Dear God, please forgive this woman for her sin of being divorced," he began.

The sin of being divorced? I thought he was going to pray for me to win the jackpot at the casino. Instead, he tricked me into praying for forgiveness for my divorce. I supposed it was my fault for disclosing any type of personal information to a complete stranger.

Nonetheless, I continued squeezing my fist around what I had left of my life savings while the man finished praying about my faults and sins as only he, a total and complete stranger, could see them.

When he finished his prayer, we said our heartfelt goodbyes and never saw each other again, which was exactly the way things should be. I moved on to the next slot machine, and he moved on to—well, I have no way of knowing, but I assume he went looking for another divorced gambler to shame at the casino.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Massachusetts State

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