Marietta was back there too, coming around in her own brand of civilisation and looking out through his mother’s eyes.

He had hurt her, only ever wanting her to come to him, to hold him. He had been driven to torment and punish without reason until they moved in a complex maze of circles, rarely speaking, never touching, the disappointment burying itself in the lines on her face and becoming crevasses he couldn’t pass over. And through it all he was never able to satisfy the numb hollowness deep in his chest, the arid place that demanded the hurt be deeper and the pain more terrible.

The penultimate game had stretched on for weeks, beginning as it always did with a trivial put down and the sting of initial hurt played and replayed in her eyes. Long silences led to irate questions and bitter rebukes as they passed through the maze of deeper and deeper hurt volleyed back and forth, blow by blow.