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Life by Scrabble

Rating: PG-13

I just sit there watching.  Watching.  Thinking….

“What just happened?” I ask myself.

A Scrabble game gone wrong….  My husband is lying on the floor, still clawing at his neck.  Choking?  Yes, choking!  “Oh my God!” I think and say at the same time.  I jump up out of my chair, but as I run over to him, I lose my balance and fall to the floor.  The house is still quaking.  “What on earth is going on?”

The game.  I think back to the last word my husband played. QUAKE.  And, oh my God– my last word was DEATH!

Panic is rising in my chest.  I can’t breathe.  I can barely think.  “Think,” I tell myself.  “Think!  Think!!”

I get to my knees and crawl to my husband.  He’s not moving.  I put my ear near his mouth.  I don’t hear anything. No breath.  No pulse.  Dead.  The man I love is dead.

The game.  I have to get back to the game.  I crawl to the table and pull myself up to standing.  “Maybe I can reverse it," I whisper to myself.  I grab the edges of the table tightly.  I don’t want to fall back down.  I need to change the game.  I have to save my husband!

Some of the words have already been scattered by the QUAKE.  I clear the board and dump all the letter tiles out of the bag.  Frantically I search through the letters.  L.  I place it on the board.  Next, I find an I and place it beside the L. “An F. I need an F!” I say in a panicky voice.  But I don’t see one.  I start flipping over tiles until I find an F.  Then an E.  I place them all together.  LIFE.

From behind me on the floor I hear a cough.  I jerk my head around just in time to see a letter tile popping out of my husband’s mouth.  Followed by a deep gasp for air.  “Oh my God, you’re alive!” I shout.

I rush over to him, the house still quaking violently.

We lie there together.  Me holding him tightly.  Him with a bewildered look on his face.  I look into his eyes.  His beautiful, blue eyes, full of life.  “You’re alive,” I whisper to him.  “You’re alive.”

A new thought comes to mind.  I have to stop the QUAKE.  “I’ll be right back,” I say.

I stumble back to the table.  I need a word… I need a word….  All I can think of is STOP.  But that won’t work.  I need a word to build off LIFE.  “Crap!” I say out loud.   A word to stop QUAKE.  Then I see them.  Five letters with a shimmering glow.  The I in LIFE. An S and T.  Two L’s.  “Yes!” I scream.  And I pick up the four needed tiles and set them in place to spell STILL.  And when the last L touches the board, everything stops moving.  No more QUAKE.  No more DEATH.


I walk back over to my husband and help him up.  Together we move to the couch and sit down.  We’re emotionally exhausted.  We have no words.  But then he turns to me, a tear forming in the corner of his eye.  “I’m so sorry,” he says.

“For what?” I ask.

“I was so mad at you during the game,” he says.  “I was so mad, I wanted to hurt you.  I had terrible thoughts!  And I even began to recognize the connection between the Scrabble words and what was happening around us.  I made it QUAKE!  But before I could play a word to harm you, you played DEATH.  And then I didn’t know what to think, what to believe.  I thought maybe you were using the game against me too….”

“What?” I asked.

“You played DEATH.  And when I started choking and fell to the floor, you just sat there, watching….”

“No,” I said.  “It was just so many things happening at once…. I was frozen….”

Silence.  No words.

“But then I snapped out of it,” I say.  “And by the time I got to you, you were dead.”

No words.  More silence.

“And then it came to me.  I had to undo the last word on the board.  Not just undo it.  I had to create a new word to reverse the effects of DEATH.  I had to bring you back to LIFE,” I said.

There is an interminable silence between us.  Time seems to stand still.  But we look into each other’s eyes.  We look into each other’s eyes with love.

Without speaking, we both get up and go back to the table.  He picks up seven letters and adds them to the L in STILL.  THANKFUL.  I take it in.  I take it in and think.  I find the letters I need, and I add them onto the F in THANKFUL.


Educator and Encourager