Monday, June 22, 2015

2207 : The End Game

They had both loved the word duels. She had confidently once said, she could never lose a battle of wits, so much so, that if she ever lost, she would quit life, not just the game. When stakes run so high, insanity is never too far away.

He did not require the night to notice the edge. It was sharp, and always cut like a knife. The bristles simmered in search of the deep red under the skin.

He remembered the time, that once over a period of 30 days she had tried to convey a single word to him. On the first day, she had asked “What did I mean to you in the past tense?”. He had said the following in some sequence - “Dream”, “Figment”, “Stranger”, “Lost”, “Weird”, “Muse”, “Fuse” and entire gamut. She had gotten frustrated and sighed, “I will never choose to play Charades with you.”. He had wistfully said “Sorry”, and said “any other clue”. She said “what is mean in the past tense?”. He had answered “Meant”. She had nodded in the affirmative and walked away in sheer make believe disgust.

On the second, she asked “what is not normal?”, He said “abnormal”. That was not what she wanted. So as he cycled over “Abnormal”, “Weird”, “Obscene”, “In your face” (and she had screamt in fake exasperation - idiot do you know what ‘one word’ means), “edgy”, “wedgy”, “loud”…and the ilk…..before finally she had gotten him to say “strange”. The journey of reaching “strange” had taken over 8 days.

She was irked that he had taken this long to come to what should have been a first natural choice.

On the fourteenth day, she had texted him, “If you did not want to tell me a No, what would you say?”. He had without a pause said “Yes”. “That was a good quickie. You made up for the past, eh? Did you sleep with John Galt yesterday?” she had quipped with a satisfied smile.

On the fifteenth she had posed, “Together the 3 words, what do they become?”. Meant, Yes and Strange….

He struggled for days, coming up with all answers including “Charade”, “Lies”, “Fake”, “Games”….and all of them were wrong.

She did not relent. She tormented him and had said, “this can go to the edge of your grave, but I won’t tell you”. He had laughed and said, “If you die before me, I shall build a Taj for your mausoleum, and call it the ‘The Temple of Insanity”.

As he was tying his shoe laces some 2 weeks later, as he also sipping his coffee and bingo he said “Game Set and Match”, “I should have known it.”

One shoe down, the other to go, he dropped the cup of coffee on the table, picked up his phone and texted her “Estrangement”.

Before he could get the other shoe on, he got the reply back - “You are slow, but you are brilliant. Take a bow.”

The next time he met her, “So we are estranged now, are we?”, he posed with a teasing smile. “Bloody narcissist, why does everything have to be about you?. You are a no one in my life. Not even a lover, you are just a losing lukha whose company reminds of the plebeian and lumpen in life. You are such a sad loser, that in fact you make me feel much better about myself, and that is the only singular reason I hang out with you”…..she had laughed facetiously as she said that. The next moment, she had reached out and hugged him, making it obvious that the games were still on. He had smilingly reciprocated on the hug.

She had then said, “I am estranged by the night, and hence a stranger by the day.”

“Thats poetic. Inspired is it?” he asked.

Today, for some reason, this entire memory had come back into his foregound. Of all the games they had played, it was the “estrangement” that seemed to be mark the zenith of their times.

He smiled as he remembered his own comment on the ‘Temple of Insanity’. He was alternatively tempted to call it the “Asylum”. And as part of the epitaph he wanted to write, “Here lays a soul, who was by every measure in search of a home. She was a wanderer who had lost the address, but not the memory.”

As he sat and mused about it today, in the middle of the dark night, he realized he had wanted her to remain stark mad. Ironically, he had lost her address too, all he had now was her memory.

Tonight he imagined playing alone, for both the sides. He wanted to just play, winning or losing was inconsequential today. He was missing the game.

“Acid reflux in the stomach, causes churning and burning?”
He imagined her going through “Acidity”, “Heartburn”, “Puke”, “Rancid” before finally settling to “Colic.”

“Green and red. Green on the outside, red on the inside.”
In his dream, she went through “Whisper”, “Stayfree”, “Guava”….he killing her before she reached the word “Melon”.

Combine the both, and what did she get.


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