We Are Never, Ever Sliding Back Together

By Emma Talkoff

Dear 2048,

I think we both knew this was coming. We had a nice run together, you and I—you charmed me with your clean design and deceptively simple gameplay, and as a second semester senior I was all too vulnerable to your distraction. But let’s face it: this is a destructive relationship, and it’s time we broke up.

I don’t recognize myself when I’m around you. Who is this person who can sit for hours on end, perfectly still but for a manic swiping of fingers? Before we met, I filled my time with more productive things: getting caught up on all six seasons of “Parks and Rec,” doodling on my calc homework, even sleeping occasionally. Now all that satisfies me is the slowly diminishing high of achieving ever greater powers of two.

I think that the moment I knew we were destined for a breakup was when spending time with you stopped being fun and started to be an addiction: somewhere around my 200th play this week, as I mindlessly entered yet another consecutive hour of gameplay with a blank stare and slack jaw, I realized that hunting that elusive bright yellow tile had become a compulsion. Even now, as I compose these words to you, I must fight the urge to open a new tab and try again, in the vain hope that this time I’ll recapture the feelings of that first play. But the reality is that even if I can slip into a perfect fugue state of rapid-fire addition and spatial reasoning, the fact that I haven’t seen the sun in several days should be enough to keep me away from you.

You’ve destroyed me, 2048,—me and my relationships. My friends are mistrustful of me, guarding their phones from my lunging grasp and staging interventions to keep me from you. Even writing has become nearly impossible, as I expect to see the tiles of my keyboard slide together and form powers of themselves. I can no longer justify our relationship, even with weak protestations that spending time with you somehow improves my math skills enough to validate my obsessive gameplay. So, I’m saying goodbye. Maybe I’ll miss closing my eyes and seeing not darkness but the bright pattern of phantom games projected onto my eyelids, but I doubt it. Maybe someday I’ll forget the indescribable anguish of running out of moves with two 1024 tiles a space away from each other. But I’ll never forget you.

Now, if you’ll please excuse me, Tetris and I are getting back together.

 

Emma Talkoff