I need to sit down. No. I need to stand up.
In truth, I have absolutely no idea what just happened.
It started off like any other board gaming session. Bearded moon settled down opposite me, drink on one side, snacks on the other. I put down my phones (three at the last count; work, life, spam), and looked up. A glint flashed across his eyes, and his hands drummed the top of a box still sealed in its wrapper.
That in itself is not unusual. I will admit to at least ten current inhabitants on our shelf of shame (obviously not counting those on pre-order and recently dispatched!). But, normally, prior to cracking the seal on a factory fresh friend, there is a discussion.
Our usual routine is thus. First, we deliberate internally; factoring in time availability, degree of brain-ache, and mini meeple’s immediate requirements. Looks pass between us, our Kallax, and back again as we prepare to quick draw suggestions in the preliminary cardboard gunfight portion of the evening’s gaming entertainment. Shots fired; the horse-trading then begins. Abstract as my go-to, spatial for him. Eventually we settle on a mutually agreeable choice (or two if we each need a win) and then it is down to serious board gaming business.
But not tonight.
No, tonight, Bearded Moon had a plan and took the reins. No questions. One answer. Like a cat sensing an impending bath, all of my senses were on overdrive. The air was electric as he wiggled his eyebrows and invited me to look down at the box shaped elephant in the room. He casually sipped his drink. I bedded in, staring him out. Not wanting to acquiesce to this new situation, my regard somehow implying approval. But, Bearded Moon is an artist when it comes to minimal expression causing maximum effect. He held firm. I faltered, crumbling like a dunked digestive biscuit.
Defeated, I exhaled, and cast my eyes downwards, lids screwed shut in a last ditch effort to snatch victory from the strong, whiskered jaw of defeat. After what seemed like an eternity (but was probably more like a minute), I slowly, slyly looked.
Now, you were thinking I was going to use another F word there, weren’t you!? If it makes you feel any better, I was thinking it in my head. On a loop.
You see, given the omnipresence of mini-meeple in mummy-daddy-home-school-office hell, my perhaps surprising ability to out-swear the swarthiest sailor has been temporarily stymied. My words modulated to match target said audience and avoid being branded a potty-mouth Penny by the boy in charge. I am no saint, however, and my efforts to PG my language often forks up spectacularly.
This time though, I let my forehead do the talking; lines forming into waves of worry as my fists balled up on the table. I felt the presence of strong, fleece covered calves clamp around my own pyjama coddled legs as he ran one thumbnail along the opening. The seal broke with a sharp click and there was no going back.
Real-time. Right now.
You might be aware that Part 1 of my little tale explains the backstory to this personal challenge and so I won’t bore you (again!) with context (or if you are sitting here thinking “what the fork is she going on about?” then I invite you to look back here to reassure your mind that you haven’t missed days as one Lockdown day melds seamlessly into the next)). I’ll just presume you know that, at that precise moment, I was feeling as comfortable as a lynx lying on hot doorknobs.
As the accompanying Renegade Games timer was downloaded and readied, I was the unequivocal definition of a flight-risk. “But why?”, you tentatively ask (risking either a terrifying or tedious retelling).