Sunday, October 14, 2012

The games we play

downtown, Lynchburg, VA

'You owe me money,'

The words crawl across the table and into my lap, work their way up the knots of my spine. Without even looking I know I don't have enough---mentally tally what property I can part with to make up the difference.

At the table by the door, an older couple sits. The man, in a red and blue flannel shirt, runs his finger across the face of his eReader, throwing birds at blocks & pigs. His companion looks over her phone, eyes wide behind her thick glasses. She smiles, crinkling her cheeks, then feigns interest in whatever graces its screen, as she listens.

'I don't have it.'

Behind the counter, the barista fires steam into milk, which lets off a gurgling scream. Two shots of espresso drain into small glasses. Here eyes cut to our table. Away. And back.

'Ok, here. Take this. And this.'

I slide the only things of value I have left across the table. My tormentor grins, admiring for a moment his acquisitions. He raises his cup to his lips, taking a long pull on his drink. It makes a harsh click as it meets the table. A hand wipes a dark drip from his lips. He grins again.

'Cole, it's your turn. Get dad again, like we planned.'

And he does-ganging up to keep me from building monopolies. We laugh at the twists in the game. Payphone by Maroon 5 joins our table from corner speakers and my sons sing along as we lay our cards out-each round-determining winners.

They never need know the possessions sold this morning to afford this moment-gas to work, food on the table-or how easy it was to let them go. We shuffle. Deal. Play again.

Out window, a brown bird dances around the curled legs of a recently emptied metal table, picking at crumbs dropped from a scone or some other pastry. He works the morsel with his beak, taking it into his gullet---looks around, unworried----then is gone

taking the sun's shine, yet leaving the warmth & we play on into the night.

Hope the weekend is going well for everyone. We have had a good one---had a family game night last night---and it worked out each of us had a chance to win. Smiles. And walking around a railroad festival today.

submitted to Theme Thursday.

54 comments:

kaykuala said...

No.#1

Hank

Heather said...

brilliantly painted. love it. game nights are fun - we played a game of it once, and it lasted the whole week!
funny about the nutcrackers, too! :)

kaykuala said...

A family that plays together stays together. Yeah! Heard of that one before! Nicely Brian!

Hank

farawayinthesunshine said...

Monopoly is one of our favourite family games too. Enjoy your week-end Brian :-)

Claudia said...

ha nice...so you have tough players in your monopoly game..smiles...sounds like a fun evening bri..have fun at the railroad festival..

DJan said...

Before I knew it was a game you're playing, I was wondering how you got into such dire straits, Brian. But then... that was actually FUN! :-)

Monkey said...

ah ha...nice twist miller...you had me going, thinking of a blog fundraiser for you guys or something ......love me some monopoly...

brilliant :)

Secret Agent Woman said...

Oh, Monopoly. I enjoy board games sometimes, but not that one. I vowed this summer that I would never play again.

Daydreamertoo said...

Awww...reminds me of my own many happy hours spent playing Monopoly.
Lovely :)

Grace said...

I haven't played that game for years..he..he...But its easy to forget how fun those moments are..no the kids don't need to know how tough life is nor the bird ~

Wishing you Happy Sunday Brian ~

Laurie Kolp said...

My kids love monopoly, too. Now they have a new version with credit cards... can you believe?

I really like how this can be read on so many levels. You did have me worried at first, though (b/c it seemed all too real).

Jessica Maybury said...

that's really cool :) I think I prefer your prose to your poetry, is that a bad thing to say? Your prose is so tight though, and it's hard to come by good stuff these days.

Daniel said...

Always an adventure to be had, huh?

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Sounds like the kids take great joy in beating you. Love it!

hedgewitch said...

The brown bird knows, bri. You pulled the O Henry charm with this one. Glad you and the ones you love can share those times--they never fade.

SueAnn Lommler said...

You can't beat family night. Precious memories are gathered in little minds. Fertile ground
Hugs
SueAnn

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

"Out window, a brown bird dances around the curled legs of a recently emptied metal table, picking at crumbs dropped from a scone or some other pastry.

He works the morsel with his beak, taking it into his gullet---looks around, unworried----then is gone

taking the sunlight, yet leaving the warmth & we play on into the night..."


Hi! Brian...
Thanks, for sharing [the image]and your [very] poetic, [very] descriptive words...As you share[d] time with your sons playing a game.

I'm glad to read that you, and your family, enjoyed your week-end...too!

deedee :)

Eva Gallant said...

Board games with the family...you are building memories they will cherish long after you are gone!

Alice Audrey said...

Monopoly? Now there's a dangerous game. Takes hours and can break as many friendships as it makes.

Raven said...

I'm tellin' ya, you need to compile these wonderful family poems into a book - some of your kids school art worked in.

Tabor said...

Still waiting for the character driven book you have tucked away in your wonderful mind!

Annmarie Pipa said...

I so enjoyed this post..once I figured out what you were writing about!
I am the only one who can win at scrabble. but I cannot spell or win any other games.
fun for sure for a family. keep it up!!

Goofball said...

yeay for board games!

Leovi said...

At great trip we can take any of our possessions.

Travel & Dive Girl said...

Nicely done. Glad you're having a fantastic weekend with the family.

Robert Geiss said...

excellent !

Shadiatique said...

Beautiful bond.

Pat Hatt said...

Monopoly is so fun to play
Although it can take forever in a day
Most things are meaningless too
That is surely true
As long as comfort one can provide
All should take that in stride

manicddaily said...

Wonderfully played here. Very poignant but always sweet. Fun to gang up on Dad, little do they know, the way it is. Good work. k.

flaubert said...

Very nice, Brian. I could picture this clearly. It is always nice to have those times with family.

Pamela

Baino said...

Damned Angry Birds, they'll be my downfall!

Mary said...

Sounds like a fun night, Brian. I used to enjoy Monopoly when I was a kid. I have the game here. It's about time I teach the grandkids to play; but one thing I hate is the game drags on forever. Ha.

Maggie said...

I used to play all kinds of games, especially board games with my dad! I miss those days...

I'm glad you're doing well! It's nice to read you again!!! Big hugs to you!!!!

Cloudia said...

we consume our afternoons by the tea cups . . . .afternoon turns to not yet evening. . . life passes, mundane yet so terrible and awesome you need to tremble and take it all in!


Have a lovely week-
Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Sheila said...

crazy - we just had a family game night a week ago Friday and played monopoly too. Such a classic. Don't tell my kiddos, but I am never more bored then when playing that game.

Lorraine said...

You make me see and live so many things that Idon't ...it's beautiful how together you are

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

That's really well done and clever.

MorningAJ said...

I had no idea where that was going. You misled me totally.Well done!

Valerie said...

Yes, you fooled me too, Brian ... at first. Games nights are brilliant for keeping the family focused on each other. There's plenty of time for the boys to learn about real life.

the walking man said...

Life is a game too, we al get a turn at winning.

izzy said...

Ganging up on each other! and 'they don't need to know what it takes'
RIGHT... :>)

Myrna R. said...

Glad you had a good weekend. Mine was good too. Lots of company, so I had little time to get on my computer. Still, nice to read your thoughts today.

Tara Miller said...

Game nights are one of my favorite family outings. You had me laughing out loud as I was reading this and recalling the night. You have to admit, they had a good plan to bankrupt you....wonder where they get that from???? ;)

Stranger said...

Our family loves game nights and railroad festivals too. Sounds like you have some smart and shrewd kids.
Great writing as usual.

lori mcclure said...

My favorite part is when you spoke of letting your children remain lost in the innocence, of not needing to know the ins and outs of all the hows. That definitely stuck with me. Glad you had a nice family weekend. We did as well :)

Susan said...

Wow! Picking up the crumbs and enjoying every minute of it!

Okie said...

lol...this is great.

I love our family game nights. Too much fun. I love the tension you bring into this. It really sets a fun and unique mood. :)

Syd said...

Nice. I always got the Go to Jail card. LOL

Sue said...

ha.

We used to have family Monopoly matches ourselves. But Scrabble was our main event.

=)

my heart's love songs said...

wonderful to spend time with family, isn't it? great write, Brian!

btw, i hope your FIL is doing well.

joanne said...

Cool tale...you twisted me around a couple of times!

Sayantini Bhattacharya said...

Like it. Happy weekend to you too!

~Sayantini Bhattacharya
another part of me

Mrsupole said...

Hi Brian,

Yup, you had me going for a bit too. I was thinking that the couple was going to offer to help pay since I have done that before and seen others do it too. You know that pay it forward thing that goes on.

Anyway it sounds like you all had a lot of fun and you are doing the right thing in not "letting" the boys win. All children need to learn that sometimes we win and sometimes we don't, although I think they were teaching you about the sometimes we don't win.

I remember when my siblings and I played on the weekends we would go to bed with everything sitting out waiting for us to pick it up again and start playing the next day. But we did take our money with us and hide it somewhere so it did not somehow get lost. Lots of fun memories there. But have you taught them how to play 52 card pickup. That is the most important game for the young ones to learn. It is some kind of initiation thing that is passed on to each generation.

I love how much sunshine you bring into the boys lives. Great job kudos for you.

Happy Theme Thursday and have a great weekend.

God bless.

PS....the wee wittle ones are here again. So hard to keep the laptop safe from them. The baby thinks all the ports are for putting food or objects into. So my computer time is limited somewhat. Very big sigh!!!

Dulcina said...

Great game to play in family, Brian.
Enjoyed your scene a lot, thanks.
I love that bird in the sunshine at the end.
Happy weekend!
:)