It Used To Be Our Game


I try to change the subject. I talk to her about the beach – a place she likes to be. She once told me she’d like to die on the beach, in the sun, as people walk by. No one would really be sure if she were dead, or just sunbaking, she said. I told her then to be less morbid. She said she wasn’t being morbid, just conscious of the need for a happy death.

I tell her that today’s going to be a hot day, and that the night will be hot too, and that we can go to the beach when it gets dark, and take our clothes off and swim, and watch the men having sex near to the dunes. On the way home, we can play that game, I say. She asks me what game.

‘You know,’ I say. I can’t think how to describe it. It’s not really a game: She gets dressed, but I stay naked, and we walk back to the road, and see how far we can go before it feels uncomfortable, or we see the cops, or someone shouts at us from a car and we have to run onto the beach again.

But while I’m wondering how to describe it, this game that’s not a game but just what the two of us do sometimes, she says, ‘I’m not really in the mood for your games today.’

I want to say that it’s not my game, it’s ours, but she’s redefining, and now it seems as if it is my game, and it feels stupid. I feel stupid, and embarrassed, and smaller than I did a few minutes ago. But this is what she does. She severs connections.

© Barry Lee Thompson and ‘Stories, by Barry Lee Thompson’, 2013.

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