Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

I kick my imp into the opposition and kill four plants with my punt. Each successive “ding” signifies an unexpected death. But they were deserved. Because to huddle so close to another player in this game is to set yourself up for death, for a life of relying on strangers to protect you from a weapon they never see coming. I’m too old to always be at the top of the leaderboard. I’m not proud that I put aside the time to master a video game in the name of escaping reality. Nor am I proud that as the man of the house, I have the power to alter the direction of so many lives. Last night she said if we continue not to speak, then I should just leave. Not like the last time when I said I would, but never did. But to find a place of my own and leave behind the Xbox One, and two kids.

When you play with the All-Star, it’s balls-to-the-wall-head-down-destruction. He absorbs the most damage and sprays the opposition with an arsenal to suppress their attack before sprinting into them for the kill. Complete with shoulder pads and helmet, he is an abrasive high school jock mutated into the ultimate bully mutated into a mass murderer. His wide eyes indicate focus on incapacitating and slaughtering. He’s the slowest on the zombie team, so he can’t track the plants as fast as his teammates. The speed at which he stalks is like a brisk walk, so to memorize the shortcuts on each map is vital to become intimate with the way of the enemy. To play with the All-Star is to live like a beast.

We were never good at communicating, with being on the same team, and have paid for it with our last lives. Either way, this will be the end of a game we have been playing essentially since we said, I do. We have run out of places to hide and our silence colliding within the household is slowly killing us all. There are no sounds to warn the kids their parents will no longer share a last name. No final stand in the form of one last family portrait. We continue keeping our vows for the sake of appearance. Aiming, spraying recklessly, as if our ammo will miss everything and not scar our targets we created in the name of almost-love, so long ago.