Competition

I’m not a competitive person. I don’t like competition. I like winning.

My sister has both exceptional luck and exceptional skill when it comes to games. It may be partly as a result of this that I dislike card and board games. I was a terrible loser, and I still am. Now, though, I’ve learned a trick: I tell myself it’s just a game and doesn’t matter, and then I don’t mind so much if I lose. (Especially against my sister.) I’m an excellent loser, nowadays – when it comes to games.

When it comes to a battle of wits and wills, I must win. I must. For the past three years or more I haven’t had to engage in any such battles, and my weapons are dulled, but if ever I need them again I hope to sharpen them quickly, because my pride will not tolerate wholesale defeat. Even if I lose, I will drag my enemy down with me as far as I can.

When it comes to anything physical, I never learned to play the game. My sister and I would pretend we were wild cats when we were small and roll around on the couch and the carpet, but we took care not to hurt each other (much). Nowadays we get into tickle fights, but we take even more care with each other. They may not look it, but our movements are tightly controlled. When we were young enough that we still hit each other out of anger, and whenever it happened at school (which wasn’t often, my classmates being either peaceful or quick to learn), I had a strict policy of “You hit me, I will hit you back harder.” Considering that it happened so rarely, and then not at all, I never really learned to playfully exchange blows. If someone attacks me, I will spit fire at them.

I react viciously to the slightest sign of violence – partly because I know that I’m weak and I’m instinctively inclined to warn people off before they have the chance to find that out, and partly because it fans my burning need to win into a towering inferno. I go from calm to battle-fury in less time than it takes for a volcano to erupt.

It’s a bit of a problem. For one thing, throughout the years people have assumed that I dislike physical contact because of it. It’s not true – I like hugs and such, just not punches. Sometimes people are violent to display affection, though – Ripple’s always punching Crash and shoving him around, and Squiggle left scratches on Taz’ arm the other day. Admittedly that was an extreme case and it kind of scared me, but still. I’ve been wondering if I ought to let people shove me around a bit – not much, of course, just a bit – without glaring at them until they back away or flailing out at them in vengeance. Maybe people like Ripple, who do it just to show affection.

I don’t like pain, though. And I don’t know if I can stop myself from hitting back or glaring my rage at her. I’m not quite convinced that I want to, either. Hmm. We’ll see.

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