FC: The Game of Life by Phoebe Lombard class 82
1: I'm not very good at The Game of Life. But I really like to play it. Whenever Dr. Rose asks me which game we should play today, I choose The Game of Life, and then I get to go over to the white shelf which is a billion times taller than me and take it out. And then I get to set it up and put all the little hills on the board and put the spinner in it's spot and put a peg person in a car. And when I am ready, she smiles | at me and we start playing.
2: I reach for the spinner because it's my turn. She always lets me start first. The tick-tick-ticks it makes are my favorite; it sounds like the noisy clock in the crocodile's belly in Peter Pan, except this clock noise is counting down the moments left in this room. | Tick- the beaded necklace shes wearing is swinging back and forth as she leans over to write something on a clipboard. Her hair is gray and fuzzy and I think of owls and a duck's bum. I told Mommy that and she said not to say that, but she was laughing and her eyes were all twinkly, so it was all right.
3: Tick- I always choose the white car. She asks me why. I don't know; it seems safe to me; it's clean and calm and the colour of morning and clouds that look like marshmallows. | Tick- I land on a square- "STOP", the board yells at me, "Get Married." I stick wiggly fingers in a Ziploc bag, searching for a little blue peg man to join my pink person. I say sorry to the other blue peg people I've left behind. Now my little pink person is not alone, which is better, less scary.
4: Tick- I put the blue peg man beside the lady: she's going to be the driver. He can be the passenger because Daddy drives too fast says Mommy. | Tick- "How did sleeping on your own go, Phoebe?" I didn't. Mumbles. I hope she can't hear me. I can feel her sighs land on my arm; they tickle, but not in the good way. She heard me. "Remember you were going to try?" I don't want to try. It's safe in the Big Bed. I don't tell her that. I tell her I'm sorry and I will try again because I'm being polite. Scratches on paper, her smile goes away.
5: Tick- I want to win really badly. I'm trying to spin the best spins, and make good things happen to my peg family, Jane and Joe. I've named them and their names sound the same so it's funny and I giggle, but inside my head. | Tick- the prize today is licorice, that really yummy strawberry kind that I can peel into pieces, and eat slowly to get every last bite. Maybe I'll save a piece for Julia, although I can't remember if I'm mad at her.
6: Tick- my peg family is bigger, so big that I have to get a second car to put all the babies in. I always like the family to be as big as it can because then my peg family will never feel alone. | Tick- her glasses are round and really big and moonlike. They look like Harry Potter's. I like that book. It's scary and sad because Harry has no family, but he has friends, so he's okay.
7: Tick- "What are you scared of?" Dr. Rose looks at me but I look out the window. It's raining and my arms are tingly because I know it's chilly outside. "Lots." "Well, what scares you the most?" " I dunno." I push my peg family around a corner and over a hill. I make quiet honking noises as I pass Dr. Rose's car. Monsters, someone coming in my window and taking me away, being alone? Mhm. Mumbles. She can't hear me and she's asking again, but I look out the window again and watch the sky cry. | Tick- I squeeze my second car to the side of the road so Dr. Rose can get past. My second car is red, like Harry's house colour. It reminds me to be brave like Harry when he faces Voldemort. But Voldemort scares me, so I try to focus on spinning the spinner really fast.
8: It's her turn and I sit back and play with the white laces on my shoes. I don't like being here and I don't like the rain. It feels like the doctor's office but Mommy and Daddy can't stay with me. It's always a special day when I go to Dr. Rose's. It's a weekend day and both Mommy and Daddy are always waiting for me when I leave the playing room and go into the talking room. | I don't like the talking room so much, but I get to sit there on a chair and swing my legs and eat my prize while the grownups talk in whispers about boring stuff. I sit on the chair and reach my legs down as far as they go but they still don't touch the ground, which scares me because the monsters hiding in the dark under the chair might eat my feet, so I cross my legs.
9: I make little finger people and dance them along the chair's arm, and do my multiplication tables in my head but I can't do twelve times anything but one because it's too hard and I don't remember how. | Then, when I am bored and finished my treat, and sticky, my parents walk over and I jump up and we can go home and Dr. Rose always asks for a hug, but I don't want to give her one and instead I just whisper thank you from behind Mommy's leg. And then I hold onto Daddy's hand. They take me home and ask me stuff in quiet voices, but I am tired so I sing Twinkle Little Star and Downtown by Petunia something and keep swinging my legs the whole car ride home.
10: Then they tell me if I try hard to do what she asked me to do and sleep by myself, I don't have to come back until forever. And then I am happy because I hear Daddy's rumbly voice and Mommy's voice that sounds like laughing and I don't have to hear Dr. Rose's scratchy voice anymore. | But then I can't sleep by myself, and when I'm alone, I get really scared and my heart starts hurting and I don't like it at all. So I follow Mommy into the bathroom so that I'm not alone and I have to go back to Dr. Rose and her voice hurts my ears again.
11: The wheel stops spinning, stops ticking. I don't like the sudden silence in the room; it's too quiet and I can hear the crinkle of the licorice wrapper in Dr. Rose's hands. My own hands are rubbing back and forth on the itchy carpet that looks like the colour of plums and apples smushed together. I watch as she counts the last seven spaces to the end of the game, watch as she puts her car with mine in Millionaire Estates which is the prettier house at the end of the game. I always put my family there because I want them to be happy. We count our money. I carefully sort mine and she helps me count out the piles of bills and the little Life pieces that you get when you land on the squares. I find some money I was sitting on, but I still lose. She gives me the licorice anyway and I feel happy, and sad because I lost but I'm going to keep trying, and I know that next time, | I'm going to win.