I need to regain control of the situation. I can feel it slipping away from me, sand through my fingers, the rug pulled from under my feet. How can I beat him at his game?
No, not his game. My game. I need to make it mine, throw him off balance, have him jump to my tune. He's had the upper hand all along and if I don't do something this will run its inevitable course, as unstoppable as a steamroller carrying everything before it, flattening everything in its path. I've been fighting him, but my back has been to the wall and he advancing step by step.
"Well done," I say. "Perfect! I congratulate you."
There is a flicker, a slight tremor in the muscles around his mouth. I turn my back on him. He's insignificant now, or so I want him to believe. Let him wonder, let him stew. I behave as if he's already told me all I need to know. My back to him I wander to a small table and pick up a crystal paperweight, holding it to the light. I say nothing more, waiting for him to speak. Let him be the one to break this silence.
The moment stretches, the silence grows thick, and the room seems to become darker in my eyes. It's corners are lost in shadow, congealing, solidifying as if they live.
But it is me who breaks the silence after all. I'm still the weak one. When is weakness an advantage? When? When someone underestimates you.
"Look at this paperweight," I say. "Through each angle we see a different scene do we not? All different, all true. And yet not one of them, taken by itself, shows the whole truth. That's the way we see too, isn't it? We see, and we judge. But do we see the truth or only a part of it?"
"Interesting question," he nods. "Very apt. But still there is a truth to be found. We build our understanding through studying the separate scenes, revealing the solution."
"Even so, the truth we see may be a house of cards. Though it seems intricate, logical and structured, a breeze may knock it down. One sweep and it is utterly destroyed."
"True. Very true in some cases. But does it apply here?"
I'm still probing, trying to find out what he knows; how much, how far his intelligence has taken him. I feel like a surgeon working blind, my hands making smaller and smaller movements, tightening.
"It applies here," I say. "You invited me here. We both know why. You wouldn't have done it if you had no doubts. But there is no proof. Just as I have no proof against you, so are your hands empty, your accusations fruitless."
"I don't think so," he says. He smiles.