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Love of the Game

Saira M. (6th grade)

The perfume of past blooming roses wafted to my nose. A typical enough smell, but it made my nose tingle with pleasure. We were like a pile of clothes, strewn lazily on the couch. Fuzzy blankets combatted the fan’s sharp embrace. The soft sound of cards being dealt made its way to my ears. Tangy and salty, the taste of the chips tickled my tongue—an idyllic scene for a Sunday, but only a mask. 

Playing cards with my family was like entering an arena full of lions, cutthroat, and ruthless. As my mom dealt, a flash of annoyance crossed my mind, most likely the result of the warm bed and inviting sketch pad lying in wait upstairs. 

“Are you gonna play between now and next month?” my brother complained. I glanced down at my cards, carefully totalling the amount I had of each suite. “Sorry! I was organizing my cards,” I replied. “Besides, I just got my hand!” 

I carefully studied my thirteen cards and considered the values assigned to each card. My mini-assessment was grim. Luck was not on my side. I gritted my teeth. This game is all luck, and the 12 point lead my brother has is just that, luck. 

I glared at my brother, with eyes of annoyance. He most likely didn’t deserve it. This game, ever frustrating, was still a favorite of mine. The thrill of throwing down cards, even the dread of the losses you can suffer. I sighed, then gently placed down a card. 

Please, please, please, My silent prayer wasn’t heard. Cards came down, each one worse than the last. Ten points behind, fifteen points behind, twenty points behind, each round I had a bigger difference to make up. I took a breath, and the calming perfume of roses reminded me to keep me to smile. It’s just a game. I’ll make up my score. I started counting. One card after another after another. Play the best card, repeat. Soon enough, the card in my hand became my last. I started, I set my card on the table. 

“A foolish miscalculation!” my mom said, in the dramatic tone she used when she was joking. She set her card down with a flourish of her hand. 

“Is it now?” I responded, my words dripping in sarcasm. “I'm sorry, but this round belongs to me,” my brother said, placing his card down. I smiled as the banter started to pick up. My brother scooped up the cards. 

A twinge of annoyance, poked me like a needle. Yet another win for my brother. “Good game,” my mom said. I couldn't stay mad for long. “Another round?” I asked, a mischievous grin spread across my brother’s face. “This time, don’t be so easy to beat.” My brother replied. “Who said that I would lose again?” I fired back. 

I inhaled the scent of the roses again. The mere scent brought Sundays of the past to mind. A warm happy feeling rushed to my heart. I reached over and squeezed my moms hand. The tacit ‘I love you’ was acknowledged by my companions. I began to deal the next round of cards.

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