The things we do on afternoons

We spent an afternoon guessing at words of a foreign language, and gave each other points based on how close we were to the correct meaning.

“Vrede vill du blomma i mig?” was his question for me.

“What will you bring today?” was my guess. I got a point for “you”. Some translation had it as “Wrath, do you want to bloom in me?” and I argued that the “to” in “today” should give me another half point, but he thumbed his nose up at me. So much for that.

I gave him another question. “Wie soll ich sie hinheben über dich zu andern Dingen?” German makes proper nouns so obvious, but I was willing to let it go.

“Wherefore shall I hide very deeply my ancient dragon?” I don’t know how he kept his straight face.

“One point for ‘I’, -5 for not-even-close,” I told him. “How shall I ever place it clear of you on anything beyond? You ruined such a beautiful sentiment. Terrible.”

“Hey, hiding is technically ‘place it clear’. And dragons are pretty much the most beyond you can go. So I should get 3 points, yeah!”

Too busy basking in his smart aleck-ness to see my smack coming, but he deserved it entirely.

The next afternoon we moved on to translating an entire foreign poem without referring to an English translation. We figured since we were already taking the lines from poems, we might as well. Level up and everything. This time the point system included how much we liked each other’s translated poems, so we ended up scoring way more points. Plus, working with an entire block of text gave more clues to what stuff meant.

The next afternoon we just spent going out for bubble tea.

And the next was a bloodshed of Street Fighters who valiantly fought for us.

“There are a lot of things you can do with two people,” I said one afternoon, “but you can’t play, say, Settlers of Catan.”

“That is a pity,” he agreed. “I love that game.”

We got out of the room and found a wandering Sister, whom we dragged back in for the game.

“Let’s get out and draw our own Google map for the streets,” he suggested a week after that. It wasn’t too hot, so I agreed. We covered about a radius of five blocks, shop names all labelled and occasional restrooms drawn in, depending on when we went for a break. There was also a coffee stain right next to “Starbucks”.

Some evenings I stay wistfully at the bus stop after he leaves on his bus, legs dangling off the too-high seat. But never for more than ten minutes, after which I hoist myself off and go buy a roll of popiah. Some things are better savoured when you have them all to yourself.


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