There's nothing like a good game of Go Fish to get your blood pumping. What seems to be such a simple game of matching cards is really a symphony of suspense and relief, victory and failure. There are at least seven tough decisions to make such as "Should I ask Jane for a six, or a seven?" or "Does Jane have a six, or does Jack?" There are so many things to take into consideration.
I recently played a match with two friends of mine. At first I was a little disappointed because, really, who plans their day hoping to fit in a quick round of Go Fish somewhere? But, boy, was I surprised! As soon as we started, it was as if I was in some sort of trance. I was seeing double and I wanted to see more double! The sight of only one nine in my hand was a constant thorn in my side. Who could have its match? Maybe no one had it and it would be alone forever? My palms began to sweat and my eyes darted back and forth between my opponents, trying desperately to see in their eyes the reflection of their cards.
It is my friend, Chloe's, turn. I try to block her out in order to better strategize my upcoming move. Somehow, through the walls I have put up around my ears, I hear the muffled sound of her voice, directed at the third participant, Allie. It takes a moment to sink in, but I think she says "Do you have any fours?" The wheels in my head start turning and puzzle pieces click into place: If Chloe was asking Allie for a four, Chloe herself must have one in her hand! It was so simple! Foolish Chloe had completely given herself away! I chuckle softly to myself.
Allie asks me for a King, which I happen to have. This fact extends her turn and consequently postpones mine. She then asks Chloe for a two - Go fish. Now it is my turn. I ask Allie for a three and I don't even mind that she doesn't have one. I have this game all figured out.
While Allie and Chloe go again (and the latter of the two takes my three and makes a match), I listen intently, hardly daring to breathe for fear I might mishear one of them and ruin everything. By the time it is my turn again I have two turns planned. I ask Chloe for a ten: it's a match! Oh, the elation! Never had such happiness flowed in my veins! The tens were together and I was going to win!
When I come back to myself, I ask Allie for a four, which she had picked up since Chloe last asked her. I had another wave of joy before realizing that it was still my turn and I no longer had any sure moves. I can feel my throat starting to close up and my hands are shaking and my heart is beating a million times per second. I don't do so well under pressure.
Somehow I manage to keep breathing and eventually calm myself. I open my eyes which had at some point closed of their own accord. How long have I been sitting here? An hour, a day? It's impossible to be sure. But what I do know is that it is still my turn. Ok, Liv. Just go for it.
"Allie, do you have any nines?" A voice asks, and I acknowledge that though it sounds so foreign, it is my own. Now is the moment of truth. She shuffles her cards slightly, and looks them over. Her eyes reveal no secrets.
Her answer is non-verbal and almost in slow motion, it seems to me. One card has been selected and is headed my way, clasped between Allie's thumb and forefinger. And it is...a nine of clubs! My own nine, this one being of diamonds, almost jumps out of my hand on its own. Clearly these two cards were meant to be together. I watch the two of them reunite, and tears are streaming down my face. This is what life is all about.
In the end, I did not win. It turns out that the trick of listening to other players' questions is a well-known trick.