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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Save Point - End Game

There was no hesitation in my heart or hand as I put the Save Point on the table in front of Maeva.

"I'm tired," I said.  Her eyes were so full of youth, energy, everything which had faded from my own long ago.

"What?  Is this why you invited me over?  Then go to bed earlier, silly."  Her lips pursed into a half-smile as she glanced down at the smooth object that sat on the kitchen table.  The low, romantic lighting made the Save Point seem somehow insignificant.

"No.  I'm tired of this.  Of secrets, of predictability.  And more than that, I'm unhappy."

The joy drained from her.  Even as I watched the hand of terror grip at her heart, I still found it remarkable how beautiful she was to me after all this time.  "What are you saying, Glenn?"  Her hand worked its way up to the side of her neck.  I'd seen that pose before.  It usually meant I would be using the Save Point soon.  But not this time.

"Mae, I'm not who you think I am.  I'm not even sure I know who I am any longer."

Her brow furrowed.  My hand reached into my pocket out of instinct, ready to load a save file, but instead my fingers wrapped around a box.  She was already picking up the device, turning it over in her hand as if it was the only thing keeping her from drowning.

"Where did all this come from?  We've been dating for a year.  How do I not know you?"

I sighed and leaned back in the chair.  I'd forgotten the old apartment, and found my attention wandering.   There were so many memories; things we'd owned together, things that defined our lives.  I noted the things that were missing which I would find so essential in the years to come.  It's funny how easily you forget.


My mind jumped back to the young, beautiful woman in front of me, and I smiled in spite of myself.  "Mae, that thing you're holding.  I stole it.  I don't even know how long ago.  It…  It lets me save a point in time, then return to it whenever I wish, in my own body, as if I'd never left it."

Her arm fell away from her neck and she rolled her eyes.  "Right.  You had me really worried there," she said and kicked me under the table gently.  "Is this some sort of game of yours?"

"In a sense.  It turns life into a game, I suppose."

"Oh?  And what sort of game is life?"  She wiggled in her seat and leaned against the table, putting her chin in her hand as she toyed with the device.  "Are you gonna tell me how I die?"

I shook my head.  "I've seen you die a hundred times, Mae.  I never got used to it."

"This game isn't fun, Glenn," she complained, her voice softening.

"No, I suppose it's not.  It's not fun when you never have any regrets, never make any mistakes.  I've grown old with you so many times, but it never felt real.  It was always just a game."

"Are you saying this, we, are just a game?" she asked as anger and pain crept into her voice.

"Not anymore.  Do you remember how you told me you didn't want someone that was perfect?"  She shook her head.  "Oh, I'm sorry.  I'd forgotten that that never happened.  Or it hasn't happened yet."

Her anger faded, and soon she was holding my hand and caressing the back of it with her thumb.  "Are you feeling ok, dear?"

"Yeah, I'm alright," I said, gripping her hand tightly.  "Mae, I've been thinking long and hard about this, and I know this is a big decision for you.  If you say no, I'll understand."

Her cheeks flushed and her breath caught in her throat.  "Y-yes?" she managed to squeak, the Save Point all but forgotten.

"I want to move to Haiti.  There's a group volunteering to build infrastructure, a school, houses…  and I'd love you to come with me."

The elation fell from Maeva like a bird hitting a reflective window.  "Haiti?"  I nodded.  "Y-you're not… proposing?" she asked me and gripped the Save Point in her fist until her knuckles turned white.

Somehow, it hadn't occurred to me that this was the night I proposed.  I pulled out the box in my pocket with a dumb-founded expression and then grinned.  "I suppose in a sense I am," I said and put the velvet box on the table.

"I… um…  Haiti?  Why Haiti?  How will we live?"

"Mae, I'm not lying about that thing you're holding.  This isn't a game or a joke.  I can't live my life like that anymore.  I've never been to Haiti, and neither have you.  I know people there need help, and I think we could help them.  It's… new.  It's risky.  It's life."

"I can't go to Haiti!  We don't speak Creole!  What if another earthquake hits?  What if we starve?  What about kids?"

Kids…  I didn't have the heart to tell her that we were never able to conceive.  "We'll manage.  I know we will."

She shook her head and pushed the jewelry box back over to me.  "Glenn, this is too much.  I can't…"

With a simple nod, I stood up and kissed her on the cheek.  "I've always loved you, but maybe I'm getting too old.  After a thousand years, perhaps I should give someone else a chance."  It wasn't the romantic farewell I'd imagined, but we'd had plenty of those before.  This was something different.  Without the Save Point, this was goodbye.

I'd made it to the airport terminal before she finally caught up to me, her high heels in one hand, the jewelry box in the other, and a smile on her countenance.  The Save Point was nowhere in sight.  She threw herself into my arms and, for the first time, I was truly happy.

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