Early Retirement

Judith Nakken

© Copyright 2002 by Judith Nakken

I have played five thousand four hundred nineteen games of Freecell and won two thousand nine hundred ninety-nine. Is 55% a good average, I wonder? It was 48% when the games were three thousand, so my depreciating left brain is satisfied.

Bleary at the computer screen, I am hunched and hurting, enraged by rap noise that blares from the 3:00AM television. The remote is on the sofa in his snoring death grip.

Travel and togetherness must have been my dream alone. Short weeks have turned our home into an armed camp, with ailments as weapons. He whines of his heart and I am martyr, limping and moaning. Nonetheless, we say ‘I love you’ more than we did in the twentieth century. We don’t, really, since intimacy’s unconditional surrender. Jockeying for position has disenfranchised our hearts, and rote becomes reality.

Boston and Bangor, Dublin, Delphi, Wind Caves and Carlsbad Canyons have abandoned my imagination. Grown old overnight in the new millenium, my mind giggles incessantly at an inscription for my headstone. See? I knew I was sicker than you! I try to banish the thought but there is nothing with which to replace it.

Freecell overwrites the endless tombstone litany as if my brain were a floppy disk, so I play yet another game for surcease. As win number three thousand records, the giggler in my head reminds me that there is an ‘off’ button on the television itself.

Or, it teases, you have a hammer.

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