Sometimes when the phone rings, I pick it up and I regret it. This isn't chess anymore; it's a descent into madness.


"Wow, I didn't expect you to answer." She sounds surprised, relieved, mad, disturbed…

But then she's always sounded disturbed. Like after our first date when she started trying to name our kids. Or a week and one-half later when she told me that God meant for us to be together. Or three days later when she broke up with me. I regret feeling sad about that. Now I wish I'd done it first.

Over the phone it's hard to explain things. It's especially hard to explain things over the phone when you don't understand them yourself. It's even harder when you're trying to explain them to her.

"I have this problem where when I'm talking to you I like talking to you, but when I'm not talking to you I don't."

"What?" She sounds confused.

I remember a few months later after I'd moved on and she started calling me. It was my own damn fault; I let it happen, so she kept calling… because "You know me so well," because "You don't lie to me."

I don't think it makes any difference whether I lie to her or not; not considering how much she lies to herself.

"When I'm with you, I like you." I'm pacing back and forth. I sound angry. "But when you're not in the immediate vicinity… sometimes I can't stand you."

"You can't stand me?" She sounds pissed. She waits a while… breathes a bit. "Fuck you." She waits a bit more. "I guess we know now what you were hanging around for."

She's talking about how a month ago, how when I got back from Mississippi, back from Air Force technical training, I went over to her place and let her try to seduce me. Do I regret it? No, but I should. She's suggesting that I was only interested in her for sex. This is bullshit. I don't care about the chess match. I don't care about thinking beyond her.

"Yeah, now it's my turn to say 'fuck you."

It's one of those moments where I hate that I'm talking on the phone. For a second I wish I was using an instant messenger… because they aren't instant. In that extra split second that I'd have had to think I'd have come up with something like:

Matt359 says: We never had sex you stupid bitch! I never took a damn thing from you that you didn't beg me to let you do.

So that call ends, and I think everything's fine. I think I'm done with her. I think the game is over, even though it no longer resembles a game of any kind I know. Of course it isn't over though.

"I'm pregnant." She sounds… melodramatic.

I almost want her to say its mine, if only to prove to myself that she really is insane. I want her to say it so I can call her a liar flat out. I almost said it anyway. She's been "pregnant" before, by the way. But you didn't know that. Some other guy who "God meant for her to be with."

I'm not even going into all that. I'm not going to tell you about the calls I've received about her "abusive" boyfriend, and her "shell-shocked" army helicopter mechanic, or that fact that she called me in Mississippi two years after she broke up with me to tell me that it was ok for me to see other people. Yeah, I've had two girlfriends and almost been married since then, but its ok for me to see other people.

I'm not going to tell you about all that because I don't fucking care anymore. I can't. I'm sick and fucking tired of caring about you, dear. And you know what? Most of the problems people have are their own damn fault.

Some people might still consider this a game, but I don't. It sure as shit isn't fun anymore, and I'm done fucking playing.