While I was getting my associate’s degree, Bub’s father taught me how to play the card game YuGiOh. Since he was as much into it as he was, I figured that there was no harm in learning how to play the game (and coming to collect the cards that I did), especially since as many of his friends played the game as they did. And for several years, I did like playing the game myself, even though we no longer have mutual friends and I came to befriend several other people that I could play the card game with and talk about it with whenever it did manage to come up in conversation — sure, it was never with the same… tenacity that they brought up card games and video games with, which was one of the many reasons that I was glad to have cut all contact with Bub’s father and his friends (because, as much as I like card games and video games, there is only so much conversating about them and playing them that I can do before I burn myself out on them, and as far as Bub’s father and his friends went, that was never respected because they wanted to do them more than I wanted to do them without a care in the world as to how much I actually wanted to do them myself).
However, two things stuck with me even after the relationship with Bub’s father ended.
One: that he loved YuGiOh more than his own son.
Truth be told, he loved a lot of things more than his own son. He probably loves everything more than his own son, which doesn’t bother me any more now that such a long time has passed. But if I had to choose just one thing that he loved more than his own son, it was, and it always would be, YuGiOh… that card game.
Two: that as the years had gone on, I found myself liking it less and less, almost exponentially.
Because of the first thing, I actually gave away all of the cards that he had given me over the course of our relationship to the younger sibling of a friend of mine whose Christmas I absolutely made, free of charge, no strings attached. It was apparently a couple hundred dollars worth of cards. To be completely honest, I just wanted to be rid of them because of that first point. These were the things that he would always love more than our own child, and I just wanted them to be gone. I no longer wanted to possess them, but I didn’t want to destroy them — I wanted them to be used by someone who would get a lot more mileage out of them, and as it turned out, the younger brother of a good friend of mine really wanted some new cards for Christmas, I happened to hear about this, and “he was in the right place at the right time” one afternoon.
And because of the second thing, which probably had (and has) a lot to do with the first thing, I just found myself not… liking the game enough as the years went on to the point that I no longer considered myself an “active player”. Although each of my sons have their own YuGiOh decks that I built for them on my own in the event that either of them ever get interested in the game, or even the franchise, I just felt like the time was right to “hang my hat up”, walk away from it, and “retire” from the game. I would never have learned how to play it were it not for Bub’s father as it were, and in a way, I considered “retiring from it” myself another way to cut ties. Part of me still thinks that he prays for me to “come back around” and want to convert to Catholicism, or… any of what he wants me to do. To me, this is just one more — small, but significant — way of permanently walking away from all of that. I’ve chosen to “retire” from the thing that he got me into. A lot of that is because of how much it means to him. I’m content with my decisions. All of them.