The Jenga Game

Lyrical Nibble
2 min readMay 26, 2024


Photo by Valery Fedotov on Unsplash.

Our son crouches on the living room carpet, an expensive cream blend chosen from a fancy magazine. The room is spacious and nearly empty, but Noah always chooses the corner. He hovers over his Jenga blocks and makes no sound.

James and I stand in the kitchen, watching him.

“I promise you I’ve been thinking hard,” James says.

I watch our son place three blocks side by side and cover them with three more in the opposite direction. A babysitter brought him the Jenga game a month ago. I’m impressed with how quickly he figured it out.

“I want this as little as you do, you know.”

Noah picks up more blocks and places them carefully, always three in a row. There are days when he gets tired of waiting for the tower to be built and knocks everything over. This time he keeps going, and I smile.

James mistakes my smile for irony.

“I mean it. Don’t you think I want our life to be simple? To go back to how it was before? For there to be no more fights, no more accusations?”

I nod vaguely. On the carpet, Noah has used up almost all the blocks. His tower reminds me of Pisa’s, but it holds. My bare feet are cold on the marble tiles that James chose, always James, always choosing aesthetics over function.

“Listen. Don’t you agree we’ve tried everything?”

Now comes Noah’s favourite part: slow destruction.

“We’ve been to couples counseling. We spent time apart. We went to the Maldives, just the two of us. We’ve tried to find each other in so many different ways.”

Noah giggles as the first block comes out smoothly. James glances at him then faces me again, shoulders set.

“Anyway, there’s something else I have to tell you.”

Our son pulls out a piece near the top, and another in the middle. The masterpiece holds.

“It’s really hard to say, and I’m so sorry.”

Another piece. The Leaning Tower trembles. Noah circles it slowly, contemplating his next move.

“There’s someone else. I’m moving in with her.”

Our son has chosen a piece in the back. He pulls too fast, or it’s the wrong piece. The tower comes crashing down. Although the soft carpet absorbs the sound, it echoes in my head as I turn to look at James and the remnants of our marriage.



Lyrical Nibble

Flash fiction to nibble on or savour, sprinkled with a dash of poetry.