An Encounter

I was losing the fight.
She was a formidable adversary, her physical prowess matched by a razor-sharp intellect and an intimidating presence. We sparred with verve and vigour, new players playing an old game. She foresaw almost every move of mine- every calculated feint, every jaded step. I could almost step out of myself and see how predictable I was. But it was not entirely one-sided. Fleetingly, I would detect indecision in her body language, uncertainty in her eyes, the occasional cliché in her moves. I could sense that I had on my side one weapon, and one weapon only.
If only I knew what it was.

Her grip was surprisingly strong, her attacks ferocious. We tumbled to the ground- grunting like warriors now, then silent like chess players. Locked together like lovers, eyes burning through each other, both strong...but one surer than the other. Through the exhiliration, and despite the faith without which this battle would have been over long ago, I knew I was a lost cause. Every time I was pressed down, paralysed by her skill and her eyes, I would kick her. Sometimes it seemed like she would roll away just so she could overwhelm me again. Yet after every kick, I wouldn't, couldnt, turn tail and scamper away. I wanted to clash again though it was obvious I ought not to have.

We grappled, as much as with each other’s minds as our limbs. Both minds were in the same playing field, but looked on it differently. I knew it was merely a game, but sometimes my head took it way beyond. I knew that to get the advantage I had to treat it with almost juvenile frivolity, I had to fool my body into thinking this was easy, even inconsequential. Then my mind would be freed, not weighed down by expectation. In that freedom lay my escape, in the lack of hope lay my hope.

previously on Vague Wonder & The Princess of Trouble

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