The Red Controller

I couldn’t shake the feeling of disappointment after the premiere of “The Complex.” The whispers and gossip about my past sexual encounter with a female friend from high school, who was now dating a long-time male friend of mine, had become louder and more persistent. I had shown nothing but support for their relationship from the moment I had learned of it, but it seemed that my male friend couldn’t let go of the fact that she had been with me over a decade ago. He started bashing my name, trying to make himself look better in the situation, and it hurt. I had been a fan and supporter of his for years, and I couldn’t understand why he’d try to drag me into their mess. “Be together and be happy,” I thought to myself, frustrated and confused. In an attempt to distract myself from all the noise and negativity, I decided to buy a new controller for the Xbox One that my wife, Brenna, had received as a gift from her younger brother. The anticipation of the Amazon package arriving was a welcome diversion from the tension that had been building up in my life. When the package finally arrived, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of excitement as I carefully sliced open the box with a utility knife. Inside the box, nestled among the protective bubble wrap, was the brand new, all-red Xbox One controller. It gleamed with a shiny, vibrant finish, a stark contrast to the sleek white controller I had been using. I carefully lifted it out of the box, feeling its weight and smooth surface, admiring its vivid color. It was almost poetic – the red controller symbolizing a new beginning, a way to cope with the emotional turmoil that had been plaguing me. As I handed the red controller to Brenna, I took possession of the all-white one, feeling a renewed sense of ownership and exclusivity. The act of playing video games had always provided me with an escape from the bullshit that life threw at me, and this time was no different. I turned on the Xbox One and allowed myself to become immersed in the virtual world, temporarily forgetting the hurtful words and actions of my so-called friend. It was painful to know that someone I had considered a brother would speak ill of me, especially over something that had happened so long ago. The fact that he was in love with this girl, and yet couldn’t move past our history, only made it more frustrating. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t just let it go, and allow us all to be happy. But as I sat there, gripping the white controller, I realized that I couldn’t control the actions of others. I could only control my own reactions and find solace in the things that brought me joy – like playing video games and enjoying time with my family. And so, with each press of a button and each flick of the joystick, I slowly let go of the anger and resentment that had been building up inside me. I chose to focus on the present, on the people who truly cared about me, and on the pursuit of my dreams.

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