My Opponent

My opponent.  A familiar foe, which I’ve fought before, many-a time.  His tactics are simple, yet powerful, for he preys on mind, not body.  He has won many battles, but long ago, I won the war.  I closed my mind off from him, removing his greatest weapon, and though the war was bloody, with ages lost to the pointless struggle, I was victorious.

He has not yet realized this.  He continues to fight me, believing that he can still win.  An ambush here, a skirmish there; nothing of any consequence, but all things of much annoyance.  I’d like to meet him face to face and tell him it’s over, I really would.  A peaceful parley between two foes who should no longer be fighting.

But the complication is that, though I won the war, he is still able to win these petty battles.  There was a time, during the war, when I turned myself to steel; when I knew the gravity of my situation, and of the cost if I lost.  But that time is over now, and steel is a harsh thing to be made of.  Now I am wiser than before, but still as soft, still as vulnerable.  And so he keeps fighting me, fighting the war that no longer exists, trying to start the war afresh even.  Emboldened by every victory, though it be a pittance in the grand scheme.

Today, he meets me on the field of battle, stronger that he has been in many years.  He meets me openly, haughtily, without any tricks or traps but only brute force; brute force that he knows I cannot defend myself against if I meet him openly, as he wants me to.

And I, in a bout of foolishness and arrogance, meet him such.

As I fight him, I remember what the war was like.  I remember every battle as if they were all this one, happening right now.  I remember that it was never the battles that I hated; the fighting was spirited, challenging, forcing me to go beyond what I thought I could do, and making be a smarter man.  But, win or lose, when the battle was over, that was when I realized how pointless the fighting had been, and always would be.  We fought over nothing, for nothing, for no one, with no one to watch.  The glory of battle was made all the more trivial when I realized that it glorified nothing.  It was all meaningless.  And yet I fought.  And now I fight again.

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