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This Game is Life
…twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty. Ready or not, here I come! Some people say that life is a game. How wrong they are. No, life is not a game; this game is life.
Panic, a tsunami of Red Bull, rises within my gut. Is the hiding place good enough? I draw a deep, shaky breath. This spot will have to do.
Like a waterfall of shadows beating its mysterious rhythm, darkness swathes me. A black sheet of nothingness enshrouds me; maybe in a minute (if I last that long) my eyes will grow accustomed to this gloom. Now is the time for silence.
Oh! A nose itch! This could not be a worse time. Slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, my hand creeps up to my face, and my finger nails dig into the bridge of my nose. Stop it, silly nose. If you keep itching like that you’re going to give me away.
“Mäushen, Mäushen, Peep einmal,” comes the childish taunt of the Seeker. As quietly as I am allowed, I breathe the call, “pip.” Bah, how foolish are those German rules that give the Seeker control over my voice. Seek the American way, you.
OUCH! What unspoken danger is it that dares stab its unrelenting finger deep into my back? I blink in the darkness, stifling the “uff” of discomfort. I inch my way into this position and that, but hidden daggers gouge my flesh in every new stance I take.
Oh good, finally a glow of happy light begins to puncture the chilling darkness. The faint rays let me see what is around me. Ah, there are the ruffians- those miserable daggers that knife into my back. Note to self: remove the building blocks from the toy box after I win this game. Look, and there is fuzzy Bunny and there is my little car with its cherry-colored plastic shell and squeaky wheels and there is Barbie and her boyfriend Ken. She’s a scary one, that Barbie. Buried in the bowels of this box with her boy, who knows how long ago they escaped together. But with her unblinking doll eyes and her matted hair, I do not understand what Ken sees in her. Maybe she has a heart wrought of artificial gold.
The deeper I dig within this conglomeration of forgotten playthings, the more I smell that baby odor of rancid slobber. Oh my goodness, my missing tennis shoe! I wonder who would have thrown that in the toy box. “Look here, you guys,” I almost call, but I catch myself. Wait, the game. The game that is life right now. I must not forget the game.
I wonder if the Seeker has found someone yet. Maybe there is now a different It? As long as It is not me, I do not care too much. I must not be found, but, gracious, what is that sound? Slick anticipation coats my mouth because now is the time. The footsteps of the Seeker, laced with rumbling bum-bum-bum of war drums, are hammering near to the hiding place. I peer through the crack of the toy chest door, but I yank my head back to the safe darkness when I see what is happening outside my box.
The hand of The It falls toward the hiding place’s door. The Seeker must know I am here. It hears me; no, It smells me- Its prey- like a Great White sniffing the blood of its next victim from afar. ACCHHHOOOO! What was that? It was not me, I know. The Seeker hears the sneeze, too. Raising Its malevolent head (and more importantly, stopping Its hand from reaching my box), It snuffles a bit; It crouches low and stalks into the next room. For the moment, I am safe.
Mere seconds later, a flood of rainy relief pours upon my soul. “She’s It!” My sister calls from the room next door.
Tessa is It. That means I am not It. That means I win. Good job, little me. Good job. I think I will stay in the happy toy box for the next round.
Good job, little me.