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You Know You're Back In Reality When...

I look at the newspaper and it's the same old news. It's very unlike me to read the newspaper any way but I only do it so that I can focus on reality. Which is quite boring.

''I feel...strange,'' I tell Hannah as I sit at the kitchen table and wait for her to serve me lunch. She's cooking an amazing spaghetti bolognese that I can't wait to tuck in to.

Man, I am glad to be home.

''Why is that?'' Hannah asks me.

''Well, coming from that game. It just feels weird seeing everything again. Hannah, I'm telling you, that game is nuts. It's quite difficult to do things. Everything is...spontaneous. Nothing is planned or rigid. It's so...busy. Do you understand what I mean?'' I explain my thoughts to Hannah but I'm not sure if she gets it.

''My, my, you've got a lot going on in your head, honey. You should take a little nap before you go back,'' Hannah suggests as she comes over to me and rests her hands on my head to soothe me.

''No, I don't think I will have enough time. I've only got an hour left. After I eat I need to make my way back to the Game Emporium,'' I say to Hannah.

''Well, I'm just about finished now. I'm just gonna strain off the pasta and dish up,'' Hannah says with a smile and she skips back to the stove.

''OK. I'm just going to the wash my hands,'' I say to her as I exit the kitchen and use the toilet. As I wash my hands and face, I think about the game and what I have done so far. A guy could go crazy thinking about it too much. I also think about the other participants, and how they have fared. I wonder who they could be?

I dry my hands, come out of the toilet and go back into the kitchen. I smile to myself when I see that Hannah has served my food and placed it on the table.

''Mmm, that sure smells delicious,'' I say to her as I grab her and give her a warm embrace.

''I know it does! I cooked it,'' Hannah says boastfully.

''Haha, confident much?'' I muse.

''Hurry up and eat, you haven't got much time,'' she says as she shoos me away. I go to sit at the table and proceed eating my meal. Oh, I missed the taste of food. It tastes so good.

''Yummy yum,'' I say aloud. Hannah laughs as she comes to join me at the table.

''When do you get another break?'' she asks as she tucks into her food.

''Not sure. Might get it before the last level,'' I say as a guess. I think about the Game Emporium and then I remember something I forgot to tell Hannah.

''Oh yeah, I forgot to mention who I saw at the Game Emporium today. My old army major, Travis Crispin,'' I say to her.

''Oh really? What was he doing there?'' Hannah asks me.

''Said his company invests in the game and he was there to see how his investment is panning out,'' I reply before I take a mouthful of food.

''Oh, what's his job now?'' Hannah queries further.

''You know that big global technology company TechWare? He's the C.E.O of the company,'' I respond to her before we carry on eating.

''Oh wow! He's done well for himself. How is his daughter?'' Hannah asks another question.

''She's doing well. Did you hear she has a son?'' I tell Hannah.

''No, I didn't! Aww, that's nice. How old is he?'' Hannah asks.

''Same age as Jay,'' I reply.

''My goodness, I remember seeing Rachel at that party we held for you guys when you came back from your third tour of duty,'' Hannah says as she reminisces.

''I know. And now she's married,'' I say.

Time sure does fly.

''Can't believe how fast time flies,'' Hannah begins to say as I join in.

''I was just thinking the same thing,'' I say.

''Yeah, and so was the clock,'' Hannah says as she gets up from her seat and nods to the clock. I turn to see that half an hour has gone by.

''Wow, I need to go soon,'' I say as I finish up eating and get up from the kitchen table. I take my plate over to the sink and kiss Hannah on the cheek as she washes the dishes.

''Thank you a lot, honey. It was amazing,'' I complement her.

''No problem. Hope you have fun,'' she says as I begin to put on my jacket to leave. Have fun. I've been hearing that all the time in the game. 'Fun' has now got a new definition according to Phantasmagoria.

''I'll try,'' I say to her as I open the door to leave.

''Love you!'' I hear Hannah shout from the kitchen.

''Love you too!'' I shout back before I leave the house. As I close the door, I look around as I see the world going about its daily activities. People walking up and down the street. Bees pollinating flowers. Old folks playing chess in the park across the street.

And me, going off to play in a new world.

And a create better life for Hannah, me and Jayden.


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