We had been at this for half a day now, the sun was setting, my stomach was rumbling and my head was throbbing. I could feel the pressure in my skull rising as if my brain was seeking escape, trying to find any crack or fissure from which it could squeeze itself out of my head and escape this oppressive aura of stupidity surrounding our kitchen table where we now sat.
If she could but memorize these cards I would consider this day not entirely a waste. The lie I told myself that once we broke through this initial blockade my knowledge would flow unimpeded into this empty vessel before me was becoming less and less believable as the hours passed. How could she not have committed these cards to memory yet? There were only two, after all.
"Mouse?" her hesitant response came.
"And this one?" I asked, raising the second card, my hands trembling in anticipation. She looked at it, her head cocked to one side as she struggled to recall the name of the input device before her. Her fingers playing with a stray lock of her golden brown hair.
Please, I silently begged her, don't get distracted now. Focus, you know this. You at least posses the wits to use the process of elimination, I know you do. With each passing second I could sense the ticks of the clock above us slowing, getting louder, like tiny detonations in my frontal lobe, brilliant white flashes obscuring my vision. She's not going to get it, the experiment is a failure. I cannot open your eyes to this strange and magnificent world that you so wish to share with me. I cannot make more of you than the beautiful but vacuous, animated incubator of my offspring that you are, with your brilliant smile that springs to your adorable face at the sight of shiny objects. No dear, don't blame yourself, it's not you. I am the true failure here.
She can see the disappointment on my face. I can no longer will myself to hide it, the foundations of my stolid expression have been so thoroughly chipped away, and another of my pathetic inadequacies is exposed this day.
A determined if somewhat puerile look crosses her face, no longer playing with her hair, her small hand forming a tiny fist that she slams onto the kitchen table, knocking the salt and pepper shakers from the garish lazy susan adorning the center of the table, a house warming gift from her parents.
"Keyboard!" she shouts in triumph.
The card slips from my hands, a rogue breeze from the open window catches it, sending it gently careening to the floor, a fitting parallel to the table I have now overturned, heaving it with all my might to get to her, to embrace her. The table crashes against the counter, causing a chain reaction of pots and pans tumbling from the cupboards, a cacophony of noise as I hoist her into the air, spinning her round, both of us laughing and cheering and loving each other.
I knew when I set out to teach her how to play Starcraft 2 that it would be difficult. I knew before I even started that I might fail, I might even begin to resent myself, or even her. What I didn't know is how incredible it would feel to make even this amount of headway. As I sit and type this, my chest still swells with pride from my small accomplishment this day.
"Can you teach me" she had asked, one fall afternoon not long ago. I told her that I could, and I intend to do just that.