Familiar to those who’ve played Galaga as the form a player ship takes when captured by an enemy. At one point I entertained the thought of getting this as a wrist tattoo. In some moments, I still do.
At the time, my girlfriend and I had a competition going on. Both of us were avid fans of Galaga, and early in our relationship our scoring competition induced chemistry between us and left a lasting impression. The two ships remain a symbol of the bond.
In Galaga, the red ship becomes not only an enemy, but a possibility. If you can fire upon the enemy holding the ship prisoner, you can recapture that ship, and have it fight for you, doubling your firepower. However, if that’s the case, then what does that mean for the personal meaning of the symbol?
Am I the red ship? What has now become the enemy? A once ally turned against them? Or is she the red ship? Captured by the enemy, potentially returning to fight by my side?
Either definition is seems misplaced for my state of being. What once started as a vague symbol for a bond has been warped by both my changed relationship, and by meaning the mechanics of the game have begun to apply to this symbol. In time, the memory of all of this will fade.
What will be left will be a red ship, caught in the enemy grip. A single stray shot will destroy it.