I was enjoying my lunch break at an outdoor café when a female student walked up beside the table where I was sitting.
"Excuse me" she said, "can I talk to you for a moment?"
I took a sideways glance at her. She was of medium height and build, with long dark brown hair and deep blue eyes. She wore plain clothing and did little to attract my attention by her appearance but I was intrigued by her bravado and motioned for her to sit down.
She threw her book bag down on the table and sat across from me. "I only have a few minutes before class but I have a question for you. You do a lot of talking about emotions and how they can work for or against you, but you don't seem to feel many of your own. You always look so… well… neutral."
"I feel emotions as strongly if not stronger than you. But unlike most people I rule them rather than them ruling me. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean I don't feel all the things you do."
"Well, everyone I've talked to who's met you mentioned how spiteful you are. What about love? Do you feel that."
I arched an eyebrow at her a little bit annoyed at the question, "I feel love. I just save it for those who are worthy of it. Anything given too freely loses value."
"I just don't see how a creature so filled with hate can know what love is."
"One's capacity to love is defined by his capacity for hate. The two define each other the same as pain defines pleasure. How would you know what love is if you have nothing to compare it to?"
She retreated back into her seat, beaten. But before she drew a full breath she spoke up again. "So tell me, is there any love in your life?"
"You mean romance?" I asked.
"Not at this time. I haven't found the right person."
"How will you know when you do?" she asked.
"Because she will be my equal."
"How will you know that?"
"Because she will be able to beat me."
She paused a moment before responding, "Don't you mean equal you?"
"No, beat me."
"But wouldn't that make her your superior?"
"Only if I couldn't beat her."
Once again she leaned back, "I'm confused."
"If all someone can manage to do is equal you, then they are still your inferior having a few lucky rounds here and there. But if someone can beat you, and you in turn beat them, then you have an equal."
"But what if you tie someone all the time?"
"That's a statistical impossibility. Someone has to win at some point, it's the way nature works," I said.
She leaned in close for her final assault, "But what if, what if, you could go your entire life and every time you crossed swords with someone it was a perfect draw?"
"If we defy nature and play your game, then life would be exactly like this conversation, a time-limit draw."
She sat back down in her chair, "huh?"
I motioned at my wrist, "You're ten minutes late for class, you'd better get moving."
She glanced quickly at her watch and a look of panic came over her face. She hurriedly threw her books over her shoulder and took off leaving me to finish my meal.
As she was leaving I called out, "Better luck next time!" but I realized I had a worthy opponent on my hands…