Writing Prompt: Resolved

‘Mum! Dad’s cheating!’

‘I am not!’ Henry was defiant, his eyes scanning the board, looking for further weaknesses in his opponents’ play.

‘Henry, it’s only a game.’ Penny’s voice cut across the table, drowning out the protests.

‘I don’t want to play anymore,’ Oscar said, pushing his chair back from the table.

‘Me neither,’ said Ruby as she slipped off her chair. They headed off to the sun room and in seconds the animated voices of cartoons wafted into the living room. Henry was still scanning the board, calculating his next move, and the one after that.

‘This game doesn’t make any sense anyway,’ said Penny as she also stood up and left the table. Henry rubbed his hands, anticipating his improved chances of success with less players. It was then that his eldest son, Alex, rapped on the table. Henry looked up, momentarily startled.

‘I thought this was meant to be a family afternoon.’

Henry nodded. ‘It is.’

‘But everyone’s gone, Dad.’

Henry shrugged. ‘They’ll come back.’

‘Bet they won’t. Maybe you need to think of other ways to spend more time with us.’

But Henry was looking back at the board, his fingers hovering over his piece.


‘Hmmm? Are you going to take your turn?’ Henry made his move and looked directly at Alex.

‘In a minute.’

‘A fast game’s a good game.’

Alex sighed and placed his hands on the table. He looked at his father, watching as Henry’s eyes seemed to ricochet around the board, his fingers twitching in anticipation of his next move.

‘We’re running out of board games, Dad.’

Henry’s eyes were still on the board.

‘I thought the idea was to spend more time with us, not drive us away.’

Finally Henry looked up, meeting his eyes. ‘Maybe Oscar and Ruby are a bit young for this one. It’s more about strategy -‘

Alex shook his head. ‘Remember last week? Snakes and Ladders was the same. There’s something about playing games that seems to change you. Maybe you need to think of something else.’

Henry picked up his piece from the board then put it down. ‘But you haven’t given up. We’re still spending time together.’

Alex gave him a small smile. ‘True.’

‘It’s one of my favourite memories, you know. Playing board games with my family. It was one of the only times my father seemed to sit down with us, apart from meal times.’

Alex was going to point out that it was the same with Henry now. Instead, he waited.

Ruby appeared in the doorway, her hand looped around the collar of Millie, their long-suffering dog. ‘Millie wants a walk.’

‘Great idea,’ Alex stood up and swept the playing pieces off the board and rattled them back into the box. ‘Coming, Dad?’

Henry was looking at the space on the table where the board had been. ‘I thought you kids liked games.’ Henry mumbled.

Ruby reached for Henry’s hand. ‘Come on, Dad. This will be way more fun.’

This piece was written to a prompt on the Writer’s Digest website. Resolved: your character is having a hard time sticking to their New Year’s resolution.

Photo: board game in the old Paragon Cafe, Katoomba

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s