The Game That Never Ends, Part Fourteen

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The Game That Never Ends, Part Fourteen

   "She’s the problem," the husband thought after a long reverie.

   "She’s the problem."

   He sighed deeply, then, within himself. He knew better.

   She was not the problem.

   He needed her. That was the problem.

   She made him feel. He did not always want to feel what she made him feel but she made him feel just the same.

   She had so many laughs. She could make him feel ten feet tall or two inches high by the slightest change in her laugh. She used words, a lot of words, often covered him up in words, but her laugh decided his feelings.

   She used so many tones. She could seduce him with one guttural laugh deep in her throat or rebuff him with a high snort. She had so many laughs. All of them made him feel, whether he wanted to feel or not.

    She was his emotional spur and barometer. The Spirit Guide told him on his wedding day that it was never good for him to be alone. He seemed to be about half without her, though he could not have said why or even said what he felt.

   Lonelieness breeds silence. The real language of long solitude is madness. Work helps, responsibility relieves boredom but, finally, one human must hold another. There is no real substitute in this life for the feeling of another human body next to your own.

   "If I was lonely before I knew her," he sobbed, "what would I be now, without her, after I touched the hair hanging down to her shoulders?"

   He had given into her Game rather than lead. He gave in because of his need to please her. He scarcely considered the consequences.

   The problem was in him.

   "Is that all?" he called to the emptiness. "Do I blame her because she showed me the Game? Is it her fault and so not my responsibility?"

   Among the garden-villagers, when they retold the story over and again years later, the blame would fall on him. They would dismiss the wife because of her great suffering from the Game.

   "By one man the Game entered the garden-village," they would say, huddled together in the coming cold. "By one man early death followed."

   Bitter, they would finish, "And we all feel it now."

   They would look at their cold, sick, hungry children and curse the husband.

   "He had no strength."

   "He was here first."

   "He should have known better."

   Then, they would cling the closer to their wives. Somehow, in holding their women, they felt comforted themselves.

   "Mine is no fortunate fall," he thought, before sleep took him again.

   "I have betrayed everyone in the village-garden. I have let in a force the Elders knew to bar from us. I wanted something more. I wanted to be bigger. I wanted, I wanted, I wanted…"

   And he slept, soul sleep, rueful but unrepentant.

   And the evening and the morning were another day.


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