I’ve always loved puzzles and games — any kind really. I love those chunky puzzle books filled with word searches (which my Gran loved and taught me when I was little), anagrams, crosswords and number games; and I’m secretly looking forward to playing dot-to-dot games and For Age 8+ board games with Ian. One of my all-time favourite games is Fifteen: The slide puzzle game where you have to rearrange the numbers in succession without imploding your brain and impaling the gadgetry into the nearest wall because you can’t get the last row to read anything but 14, 13, 15 and it’s getting dark outside.
One night a few weeks ago, Bryan was perusing the game applications for the iPod Touch and blurted out, “Oh look, the slide puzzle is free…”, a little too casually, if you ask me. I jumped from my chair and ran to visually confirm what he’d just uttered. You see, this man is a born teaser having had four sisters to practise his brotherly manipulation and rebuttals on his entire life. Sure enough, there it was. My beloved Fifteen. Admittedly, I haven’t played it in a very long time and had to sit and practise for a while before I felt comfortable showing my scores. Great, that’s all I need: Something to measure and tabulate success.
At first, the game playing was casual and non-committal. You’d hear Bryan say, “How did you manage to complete it in 2 minutes 2 seconds? That’s impossible?!” It was then I spoke the words of no return, they slipped out and seconds later I was grappling in mid-air trying to retract my statement:
“I dunno, maybe because I am good and have some mad skills.”
For two weeks we have been erasing each others’ score from the top 5, goading each other with taunts and of course, I have been able to hold my own. That was, until he took the high score of 33.16 seconds. I couldn’t believe it! He wasn’t even utilising my new-found skill of completing the last two rows at the same time using the 13-9, 14-10 technique. And for two weeks, I have sneered at the screen feeling defeated and out-done. There have been no commiserating back pats, no sympathetic smiles and no encouraging words. It has turned into an ugly battle of wits.
A few nights ago, we got the younglins into bed early (thank you dark nights!), watched some of our DVRd shows, and I sat relaxed on my chair with my elbow propped, ready to pounce. A good twenty minutes passed, but then suddenly, out of the quiet still of the night was a single guttural snort. I did it!