Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Kid with the Games

When I was a boy attending middle school
I lacked any friends for, as you know, kids are cruel.
Until one fateful day on the bus heading home,
My backpack beside me, heavy with tomes,
Despite my demeanor which seems misanthropic,
A boy sat beside me and brought up a topic
Which I wasn't used to discussing with others:
We talked about games; from then, we were brothers.

It started out slow, as I suffer from shyness.
I went for a visit, and what I found was the finest
Collection of games, more than I could have guessed:
From Sega to Game Boy to SNES.
I could hardly believe my sudden good fortune.
I found myself frequently there on his porch and
Ringing the doorbell, the air smelling of clover;
How could I resist? I would often sleep over.

My friend was quite stubborn, a real troublemaker;
I liked RPGs, while he preferred Quake or
Other games for which I lacked the knack.
At school he'd pick fights, and once he attacked
Another kid for sitting under "his" tree...
And since I was his friend, he'd try to get me,
When teachers would come, to testify,
Why, for him, for the games, I confess... I did lie.

And so it went on, though I found better friends;
They weren't mean or crass, but in the end
They didn't have as many games as he did.
To be honest, I didn't care how I was treated.
And anyway he and my friends got along.
We were under his spell, who cares if he's wrong?
I wish I could say I stopped being a sap and
Ended that friendship... but that's not what happened.

To borrow his games I needed permission,
But his mother was wary and saw me as hitching
A ride from her son, that I was taking advantage
Of her beloved child, so my fun did she manage
By limiting how often and what games I could borrow.
"One game at a time, bring it back by tomorrow!"
So I nodded and wore an obedient mask;
The answer was clear: I just wouldn't ask.

For months I accomplished my goal without worry:
When I would visit, sometimes I'd hurry
Back to my friend's room, a game on my mind,
Since if I knew what I wanted, it was easy to find.
I'd sneak the cartridge from the drawer to my bag;
Then go back to his side, and how time would drag
Until finally I could leave and do what I pleased:
To spend a whole week with my friend's RPGs.

I don't know how she saw through my deception.
Don't underestimate a mother's detection
For when something she purchased goes missing;
It bypasses all of your hoping and wishing.
So once when my friend and I were out playing rough,
She went in his room and looked through my stuff.
She saw through my lies, my tales, and my tricks,
For among my clothes was Final Fantasy Six.

Er, FF3 in those days, but what does it matter?
She called us both in; I'd never seen her madder.
I'd confirmed the suspicions she'd had all along:
The friendship of me and her son had felt wrong.
She confronted me boldly, demanded admission;
Turns out "borrowing without permission"
Is really just a fancy way to say "theft."
So, no longer welcome, I took my bag and I left.

I was angry at her, for calling me out:
Her son was a monster, I was helping him out
By being his friend when noone else would!
It was many years later when I understood:
I was never his friend, I was only a user;
And I had the nerve to label him the abuser.
I faked being a friend to a kid for his games;
But, really, whose childhood is absent of shame?

No comments:

Post a Comment