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Winning Once and For All

by Daniel Speraw


I hit the steering wheel and cursed at the pain.

Running late in Monday-morning traffic, I thought, “It is just too much. My ex-wife gives me grief on the weekends, and I have to fight Jerry all week long!”

Far ahead, the light turned green. I hit the steering wheel again, though not nearly as hard.

“But I have had enough!” I thought. “Jerry will either change his attitude this morning, or—.”

A sports car cut me off; I hit the brakes and felt even angrier.

When I finally pulled into work, I jerked the car to a stop, slammed the door and headed straight to Jerry’s cubicle.

He was on the computer, his back to the opening. I clenched a fist and said, “Jerry!”

The man tensed and slowly turned his chair.

I leaned into my words: “I need that report by noon tomorrow! No excuses! This has gone on way—.”

Jerry was nodding, as he interrupted, “Sure, I have it all ready for you.”

He reached up and pulled it from the shelf.

I stood speechless, staring at the first page.

Eventually I stuttered, “Oh, well, uh, good.”

Glancing up, I half-heartedly asked, “Uh, how about the McGreggor work up? You know, we really need to get on it."

Jerry said, “No problem, I have already started. I will have it for you ahead of schedule.”

I realized my mouth was open. I quickly shut it, nodded uncertainly and left.

Later that afternoon, I was back at Jerry’s cubicle. I stood there hesitating; finally, I knocked on the partition. Jerry swung around with a smile that died.

“Hi,” I said nervously.

Again I hesitated, then asked, “Why the sudden change? I mean, glad to see it, but why?”

Jerry looked embarrassed, as he said, “Well, I just decided to get a report in on time for once.”

Feeling even more uncomfortable, I slid into the other chair and said, “Look Jerry, this has been bugging me all day, and I really would like to know.”

Jerry dropped his eyes, scratched his head and eventually said, “Okay. Well. It felt like we were in a struggle. It even seemed like I had to fight you.”

I was silent.

Jerry looked up and said, “I kept thinking that this struggle with you was a miserable way to live. Anyway, I decided to let you win.”

In a flat voice, I repeated, “Let me win.”

“Well, yeah. It felt like a fight, so I imagined letting you win. I hated the feeling, but it was the only way I could think of to change things. I mean, when I was not fighting you in some outside way, I was getting back at you in my head.”

Not knowing what to say, I stood to go and mumbled, “Uh, yeah, okay, thanks.”

Saturday finally arrived, and I was on the way to pick up my children. I decided to let you win had been echoing in my mind all week.

Even before the door was fully open, I heard my ex-wife’s irritated voice: “I absolutely need the children home on time tomorrow, or is that just too much to ask?”

I looked away, jaw tight, as I thought, “Will it never end?”

I turned to her angry face and forced myself to say, “Good morning. About last weekend, I really am sorry about being late. Tomorrow we will be back a few minutes early.”

A scathing retort died on her lips.

I pushed myself a bit harder and added, “Oh and speaking of a bit early, here is the support check.”

As my children ran out the door and into my arms, I felt an overwhelming rush of relief, as I realized, “I can let her win.”

Daniel Speraw began writing in the 1980's, with a nationally syndicated newspaper column; however, through-out his Life, he has searched through religion, meditation and psychology, so that he could release the past and connect more deeply with those in his life. His current literary project is This Human Condition, sixty-four short pieces on positive change. For those that desire change in their lives, Daniel uses his gift of deep intuition to support fulfillment. He also uses the gifts of insight and storytelling in writing The Human Condition, a series of entertaining vignettes supporting positive change. Contact Daniel: dshc@att.net or 831 768-7604
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