ANA MARÍA SHUA
Three vowels, one r, and one l left; it must be possible to find a seven-letter word and win the game. All she has to do is to take another sip of coffee and concentrate for a few minutes, moving the letters around on the stand, and there it is: warbler. Seven letters, fifty bonus points, sixty-four total.
“Already getting rid of all your letters?” Pablo says. “Can’t you see it’s giving me a chance of a triple-letter score?”
“How so? What can you put down? Warblerize?”
While he is thinking hard about the next move, twisting the ends of his moustache, she looks intently at the board to avoid looking at him. Yet she can’t help but see his lowered face and realize how painful it will be not to see it anymore. How she will miss the weight of his body. Three wasted years, as her grandmother would say, he wasted three years of your life.
“I can’t think of anything,” Pablo says after a while. “All I can make is it and get three points.”
“You have an f, why don’t you add to it, make fit and then for across. You get a double score and a total of seventeen points.”
“You’ve been looking at my letters again.”
“I do it to help you, otherwise the game becomes very boring,” says Laura. And though she realizes that it will put a stop to the game, she adds impulsively:
“You’ve met somebody.”
“Yes,” says Pablo, surprised and relieved at the same time. “How do you know?”
“Mutilate, I get rid of all my letters again,” says Laura, proud of having once again found such a good word for her u and a using another vowel from the board.