b r e a t h i n g
r o o m
1 Mar 98
Sarah and I said goodbye after she and her friends visited my office in the afternoon yesterday while I was working on Enterzone (originally scheduled to come out today), but she'd left a message on my office machine later in the evening with another goodbye and she sounded really sad, choked up, although what she was saying was that she was happy and really glad she'd come. I got that message in the early afternoon today when I got back into my office (after waffles and psychodrama at home). I called her place in Hawaii (her flight was this morning and would not have been in yet), navigated her complicated voice-mail system and left her a message in reply.
When I got home in the evening, I finally realized how hurting Briggs was. She was feeling bereft, abandoned, relegated to a scullery role, She did not have enough time. She did not feel good about herself. I was not paying enough attention to her. I tried to comfort her and got some hope when I suggested I bring back my work from the office and then we could play a round of Rummy 500, her favorite card game.
A while back we figured out that I had internalized, as a kid, an aversion to competing against girls, now women, because you can't win. If you win you feel bad and if you lose you feel worse. I was the worst kind of sore loser. As soon as I realized it, I told her. When she mentioned this to her therapist, he laughed, knowingly. It helped a lot to talk about but I still haven't taken the initiative to invite Briggs to play with me. And now she's afraid to ask because she's asked so many times and been told no. When we played tonight, I noticed those resentful, peevish feelings again, but now I knew what they were, where they came from, and how they operated and I had no real problem ignoring them. I sunk back into the pure play of the game, and it was like being a kid again, sitting there studying our cards, not talking, breathing, someone straightens the discard pile, a sharp intake of breath, the bold stroke, the old strategies plied again and again, every which way against the same old nemesis.
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