The summer holidays are here, and my daughter and niece are bored. School is closed but it is too hot and humid to play outside. There's only so much television they can watch. So the girls are holed up inside the room, with nothing to do.
"Let's play Monopoly", says my niece suddenly. All at once, the mood in the room changes, and the afternoon seems filled with new promise.
In a few minutes, the board is set up, and "money" allocated. Within the first thirty minutes, the girls are transformed into fledgling real estate barons. Ha! I got Park Street, says one, as she pays for the property. Tchah, says the other, I have Bond Street!
When the rivalry gets sharp, I announce lunch. They give up the board reluctantly. "We're going to continue after lunch", they announce.
After lunch, the game quickens. By now, both sides own sizeable chunks of London. There is gleeful gloating, as rents are levied. The girls keep a sharp eye on each other's wealth. Fortunes are made and lost, and the fate of London's real estate swings wildly in the hands of two competing girls with giddy sums of money.
As I watch the game, I am transported to a scene from my own childhood - my sis and I playing Monopoly in the summer holidays. We compete fiercely, but I always lose, while she makes infuriating amounts of money. It is the same with any game of chance - Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, cards - I always try hard, but she always wins.
My daughter interrupts my train of thought.
"Do you want to play with us?" she asks. I smile and refuse.
"But why? It's fun!", says my niece.
I decide to confess. "Because I'll lose", I say to my niece. "I'm no good at this game! Your mom and I used to play this game, and I always lost!"
The girls look at each other and grin. "I'm going to win this one", says my niece. "No way!" says my daughter, and they go back to the game.
I watch them competing, hunched over the board, and I smile to myself. I remember my sister, and the intense concentration of our summer games. Some things just don't change.
- » Published on May 27, 2008
- » Type: Opinion
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