I was never one for those electronic, Nintendo type, games. You know, the ones with the reset button, that would completely delete all history of all games if you pulled it out of the socket. Even as a child I wasn’t all that fond of them. I enjoyed things with more consistency. Things that I could see advance in, things that I could excel at with obvious measure. I was always dead set on being better in the next round than I was in the previous one.

Whatever could be reset, or started over from scratch, held no appeal for me. If you could simply start over, erase all your mistakes, memorize the game and play the same round over and over from the beginning, learning each and every one of its “traps”, then there’s no real way to prove your worth. To prove that you are gradually getting better each time, and at the end of it all, you are the best at it.

I was too proud even as a child. Stubborn and narrow-minded. Too smart for my own good, but too stupid to realize that life, and love, is all about fucking up, falling face-first into the dirt just to get up, dust off your knees and get right back into the game, playing twice as smart and twice as hard. I have a tendency of falling on my face because I’m being too cautious, thinking too far ahead, not because I don’t understand the objective of each game.

There was something I realized even back then; you can’t correct all your mistakes. Some things, once ruined, went straight into the garbage can, with no salvation, and you had to start from scratch, on your own, anew. I knew not to repeat the same mistakes, I knew to listen to the knowledge that I had previously gained, I knew to follow instructions and advice of others, more experienced, carefully. But what got balled up and thrown away, was not fixable.

I was always too proud to ask for a second chance. A chance to do things over and get them right the second time around. I’d hand out second chances, third ones even, but I never asked for them, even when I knew I deserved them.

But I get it now. And you’re the first person I’m admitting it to. Because now, thirty years into it, I get the whole point, the allure, behind starting the game from scratch. Now that I am the one putting my pride and ego on the side, not one bit of condescendence in me at this point, standing here across from you asking you to press that damn “restart” button.

I want a second chance. Let’s get to know each other all over again. Let’s do it all right this time ’round. Let’s learn from our mistakes, knowing the traps laid down in our path and take it from the top again. I’m just as much to blame as you are. It takes two to tango, honey, and I think you’re well aware of my two left feet. There is never one “guilty” party when emotions are shot to hell.

It was like a game of Russian Roulette, where you never know which chamber will be holding the bullet and which of the two’s hands the gun will go off in. I knew the game. I just didn’t know which click would be the last. And the bullet happened to fall in my hands before yours. The only difference is that I’m still here, still standing, still breathing, asking for another round.

No, it’s not like me to beg. It’s not like me to demand. It’s not even like me to ask. The first time ’round it was like a wildfire – blazing, all-consuming, living the high of every moment, of every breath, every kiss, every touch, without thinking about later, without considering if there would even be a “later” and what would happen then. And the end came with a sudden, mind-numbing, deafening bang.

But you can’t put out a wildfire by shooting it.

I know that what I ask is crazy; you know that my cheeks will be blazing. You know that I’ll be holding my breath the whole time. You know that my hands and legs will be shaking so severely that I won’t be able to hold myself up. I know the look you’ll have in your eyes and your crooked smile, the one that gives your thoughts away. I know your brow as you ponder what I’m saying. But I also know we’re both still here. I’m still looking you straight in the eyes. I’m still terrified, trembling, but I’m not going to leave; not unless you pull the trigger this time. And you know that you don’t really want to either.

You know I’m right.
Maybe this time we’ll get it right.
You deserve another chance.
I deserve another chance.
We deserve another chance.

Author: Nikól Peri

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