Tic Tac Toe


March 10th, 2019 by Patrick Starks 


We’d always get in a tie, O and I.

Usually, I’d start at the end of the corner, while she started at the other. One of us would, of course, go for the middle, however, like always, the other ends would be blocked before any could claim their win.

At times we’d think about our lives, and if we’d ever reach the end of our paths. However, it seemed all we kept doing was getting in each other’s way. On occasion, I thought about letting O win, so that she could see the other side for a change. She didn’t know it, but I loved her that much to give her that. Although, selfish as I was, fear of being without her was just something I could not and would not bear. So, I kept us in a stalemate, and it was in that moment I began to wonder if I really could beat O and that at the end, I was somehow involuntarily getting in a tie on purpose so that we’d be together.

But in mid-November O would do one of the most courageous things I had ever seen her do. On our next game, she had the choice to but didn’t go for the middle this time. Instead, she skipped it and started from the other side. Being naïve, still, I did the usual and blocked the middle, and I didn’t have much of choice seeing how as if I didn’t, the game would be over.

O would then go for another corner. I’d never seen her take so many points from the outside. It was somewhat madness at first. But looking at it closer, I then realized what had happened. She’d not only had one move, but two moves to choose from now, and deep down I knew that I couldn’t prevent her from both. O was going to go away for good this time. 

“I’m sorry X, but our game ends today,” she cried. “I need to see what else is out there. Maybe we will meet again someday. I love you, always.”  

I was speechless but at the end knew it was the best for us both. O was right, the world needed to be seen. And being cooped up in the same game for nearly decades, was surprising to me that we hadn’t taken each other’s heads off, well, if we had heads, jokingly.

Nevertheless, the game had ended, but a new beginning had started. I’d taken notes from O, from our last game, and just a few weeks after had beaten my next opponent, which was nothing like O at all, a CPU, whatever that means. But once I’d won, oddly the CPU would tell me a riddle:

“Go and you shall find O, but if you know, then you just might fold. Walk through the paths of the king and queen, and there you will find where she will be. Move three spaces and choose left or right but be aware of what you might fight. And on the night, you will see your path, diagonally, however, at the end there will lie the past. Be vast and make every moment last.”

The game had then changed. I was now looking at black and white squares as I exited through brightly lit pathway. I don’t know how but I could feel that O was close. I had so much to tell her, although, I wasn’t sure how I would say if I met her again. But luckily, I’d meet the Bishop and the knight.