Distractions, Distractions by Anna Welsh

It is so tempting. I am sitting in class, my eyes wandering across my computer screen. I can’t restrain myself. I begin to type, watching the words form in my search bar: Cupcake 2048. The link is purple, showing I have visited the website countless times. I click, anticipation coursing through me. It is instant relief from the ennui of the dragging school day. The bright colors reflect against my face- yellow, purple, pink. The voices around me recede into an unintelligible white noise. I must match the cupcakes. That is my only goal. Pink frosting to pink frosting, then yellow to yellow, and so on. My grid slowly fills as the cupcakes morph into one another, changing color and position within the pink square. Panic sets in. There are too many cupcakes, I can’t match them efficiently enough, the grid is filling, there are barely any spaces left, oh God!

The screen falls dull. Game over. The weight of the loss makes my shoulders shrug at my desk, the high of the game disappearing as quickly as it came. Voices resurface around me. What were they saying? Chemistry… yes, chemistry! Something about collision theory. The smartboard comes back into focus, displaying a Maxwell-Boltzmann curve. I am here now, here in a chemistry classroom, not in a world of sugar and bright colors, a world of strategy and cake. I glance around the room, watching the HL students furiously scribbling diagrams onto their notes.  Man, am I glad I’m not in HL Chem!

I could play again. I could try to beat my best score, try to beat the game. Beating the game, that mythical feat that I can only dream of. I had seen people beat the game before, in moments of joyous celebration. I had seen the sweat beading across their foreheads as they clicked, the determination creased in their brows. It was a task that took skill. Not just anyone could beat Cupcake 2048.

I forbid myself from playing again. The game had been a “brain break,” but I must return to studying. Must open Kognity. Must take a Strength Test. Must, must, must. Cupcake 2048 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is my greatest enemy, my greatest distraction. It feeds off of my boredom, grasping at the edges of my thought during the school day. “Anna,” it whispers, “just one more game. Just one more and then you will study, I promise.”

“No!” Please, Cupcake 2048, please just leave me alone. I can’t take it!


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