Rolling Dice

A man grabs the wooden case of a backgammon game from the pile of boxes on the corner table. He opens it on the small wooden table where his friend is seated, and sits down himself. They place the white and red stones in their respective corners, and throw the dice. His friend collects the dice and throws again, the pieces start to hit the board with loud splashes, followed by a short silence. The conversation falls silent but for the mocking comments that accompany each move. On the small table inside the taverna two little children play cards. In the kitchen a woman pulls up her socks and straightens her dress. She picks up a booklet of cross word puzzles and a pencil. Stares at the list of hints, at the grid of randomly placed, checkered black and white squares and puts the pencil’s end to her lips. With a sharp reflex her hand jumps to the paper and scribbles a word down, and she crosses the hint out with a firm stripe. At each side of a narrow, fold-able table four black men sit down to play domino, their feet pointing outward at the table’s legs forming an uninterrupted eight pointed star from tow to crotch. A snake pattern of white plastic squared stones emerges on the table, under the nervous rattling of stones being shuffled in their hands. Loud voices shout over another, followed by a deep, billowing laughter. How light must they look upon life, how meaningless does their existence become, to play games and avoid any serious effort to pursue a higher dream. They fill their lives with rolling dice and forming meaningless patterns of endless silliness in these children’s games; Life must bore them utterly, they must bore life. How are you doing? Good, good, but they bore me. How is he? What is he doing now? He’s winning, losing maybe. Playing poker, smashing a card with a dull echo on the table as if he battles on life and death, with an expressionless stale face. There is the pride to remain stoic, what stoicism has become, to not flex a muscle, to hide the inner excitement, the crunching disappointment at the randomness of the hand being dealt, to vein control over chance in life. But it is a philosophy without sophism. I find it impossible to withhold my boredom, it gusts out, to not express remaining absolutely unstirred by this silliness. To live life to gamble on a lucky lot to fall into your hands.

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