“A New Game” is a fable illustrating a macrocosmic view of the family dynamic from the perspective of the home; the relationships between husband and wife, father and child, mother and child, and the universe’s response to the energy a family radiates. This story was written in such a way that you, the reader, could take from it what you will.
In a little-known African village in the heat of the day, an occasional breeze blows gently through an open window of a tiny brick house; as if to remind its inhabitants that God is still watching. Inside the papi is relaxing home from work. Momma, her feet blistered and dusty from going to and fro throughout the house cleaning and into the streets from marketplace to neighbors’ houses, now slaves over an open stove with a baby in a lappa strapped to her back. Beads of sweat form across her brow, but refuse to pool into streams to provide her any real relief.
Why get a fast “no” from the papi when a slow “yes” from momma serves the purpose? So the other children, 8 of them—blissful and bursting with untapped energy—begin bothering momma like a swarm of flies; wearing her down with a thousand requests. From the comfort of his favorite chair the papi overhears the chatter of his rambunctious children. He leans back in his recliner to peer into his wife’s weary face; her beautiful face. She looks away from the children and notices the papi staring. She smiles. The sun dims as a cloud passes. She giggles. A breeze blows.
The papi clears his throat, then in a hardy voice shouts, “Alright my children, leave momma be. Come, let’s go. Come, let’s go. Let’s go yonder, to the edge of the yard and play a new game.” The children, frantic, rush the doorway, clogging it such that none of them could pass through. “Please, please, one at a time oh,” papi says laughing. “Line up ‘pon me, eh?” Papi turns to look at his wife’s grateful face; her beautiful face. She looks up from the pot and notices the papi staring. She smiles. The sun dims. She giggles. A breeze blows.
The Papi leads the conga line of children out the door and into the yard; an acre of land flanked by thick brush, tail trees and a narrow dirt road. He takes the children to the very edge. The Papi explains the rules of the new game to the children and in an instant they form a circle and begin to play.
They made such a ruckus fussing and laughing that momma comes out to see for herself, baby in tow. Smirking, momma inquires, “What have you done to my babies?” “Honey, I have put butterflies in their bellies and now they cannot stop laughing,” the papi said proudly. “You did?” momma asked, pretending to be concern. After erupting in laughter, the eldest child replies, “No momma, not real butterflies! Pretend butterflies.”
Her family was having so much fun she decides to join in. Papi places a special butterfly in momma’s tummy. They all begin laughing and frolicking around. Papi looks into his wife’s cheerful face; her beautiful face. She glances toward the papi and notices him staring at her. She smiles. The sun dims. She giggles. A breeze blows.
Momma was having so much fun she forgets her soup. Several minutes pass before they all notice that the house is on fire. Papi removes his shirt and runs toward the flames. The boys removes their shirts and chase after their father. But before anyone could reach the burning house it suddenly begins to rain. It rains so hard that it puts the fire out.
Relieved, the papi begins to dance in the rain; then momma; and then the children. Papi checks on the condition of his children, then looks up to peer into his wife’s lovely face; her beautiful face. He notices she is already staring at him. She smiles. The sun dims. She giggles. A breeze blows. God is still watching.