Friday, 19 April 2013

Solitaire for Two

He was standing over me, waiting for me to make the next move.  I shifted away from him, not wanting to be touched or watched.  I studied the cards, then shifted the ace of hearts to the two of hearts.

"Why'd you do that?" he demanded.  "You could have made two moves instead of one, if you'd..."

"Look," I interrupted tightly, "It's called 'Solitaire' for a reason!"

I gritted my teeth, and studied the carfds for the next move.  There was a blank space that had to be filled before I could deal again.  Should I move the stack of clubs?  I did, but didn't like the ten of diamonds that t revealed.  That was only one move and I wanted more for my empty space.

"Can you do that?  Isn't that cheating?"  His voice rasped over my shoulder, raking into my raw nerves.

"I can do whatever I like!" I snapped.  "Why don't you go find your own game to play.

"Because I want to be with you," he replied.  "You said we don't spend enough time together, and you used to like it when I helped you before."  He paused, then added, "Besides, two heads are better than one!  Don't you want to win the game?"

"I'm going to win the game.  I always do!" I snapped again.  It's not about the winning!"

"Then what's it about?  Why play a game if you don't care about winning?"  He was clearly puzzled.

"Maybe I'm trying to think.  Maybe I'm trying to avoid thinking.  Maybe I'm trying to avoid you!" 

I was past caring what I said at that point.  I only desperately wanted for him to go away.  I remembered how we used to play Solitaire together before, how good it felt to move multiple cards and make giant leaps when he and I played as one.  First I would move, then he'd follow on, until we'd won with a great score.

But things were different now.  Now Solitaire was really only for one person.  Anyone else was an intruder, and this intruder had usurped my place as master and become better than me.  And he had taken to flaunting it, which irked me more than I would have thought possible.  Why did he have to be better than me at everything?  Why couldn't I excel at something?  Not even a bloody game of Solitaire was safe!  'Solitaire for two' was just another place for him to win over me, to be better than me, to master me!

Well, not anymore.  I was determined to take back my game, and my self-esteem, and to hell with him!  He needed to win -- I needed to escape.  Let him win at his own game -- Solitaire was mine! 

I clicked on the X to close the window.

"What are you doing?" he protested.

"Didn't I tell you?  Game over!" I said, closing the game.  "You want to play?  Go ahead, start your own game!"

I stood up, expecting him to follow me.

He sat down...