If we could step outside of time, none of this would hurt. We would see the pattern of it, the absurdity - two penalty-kick failures in the only two home games of the season? - the curlicue traceries of fate spun out as a tapestry, a done thing. We'd not have to hurt, because we'd know all along; there'd be no cruel surprises - no surprises at all!
Just a flat circle of WHAT IS, six draws on the trot, stamped out in sameness by a fate too capricious to be believed. No loss. No rising hopes soured to heartache. None of this we're left with here, today, after another absurdly unlikely 1-1 draw, this one with the visiting New England Revolution.
Of course, the entire sporting enterprise would be beneath our time-spanning selves, so we'd also lose the jubilation. Quincy Amarikwa's opener wouldn't thrill us - we'd know that Patrick Nyarko was about to knock Kevin Alston akimbo, setting up the penalty that would tie it. And we'd know simultaneously that Quincy, carrying a yellow, was going to go studs-up through Andy Dorman, earning an early shower, so even what quirk of joy that knowledge got us would be heavily leavened.
We aren't outside of time. This happened in sequence for us. The lead; the drawback; the dismissal; the unlikely rally, down a man; the penalty, in stoppage time; the decision to anoint Juan Luis Anangonó to take the penalty; the sad, sad trombone.
The cruel thing is that, for the second week in a row, it should never have been this close. As in last week's nullity in Montreal, the Fire had much the better of the run of play throughout the opening half, bossing possession nearly two-to-one and creating many more looks at the goal. But, like last week, Chicago was victimized by one small slip in transition, and their control over the game slipped away.
It all began so swimmingly. New England came out aggressively trying to pin back the Fire, keeping their backline high and swarming to cut off passing lanes. The Men in Red responded cagily, clearly ready to shift postures and play countering football off the back foot if that was what the situation demanded.
That directness paid dividends in the 16th, when Larentowicz pounced on a loose pass deep in midfield and found the Revs still rotating forward. Shipp glided into a pocket of space at the stripe, and Big Red found him; his split-second turn and measured through ball to a streaking Amarikwa were testament to growth of the Rookie of the Year candidate's game in this early season.
Amarikwa didn't stride in unattended. Andrew Farrell - a weird amalgam of beer-gut, Amish beard and blazing, brawling defender - checked him stride-for-stride, trying to throw the Fire man off before he could shoot, to little avail. Quincy finished simply, back post, for his career-high fourth goal of the season. 1-0, Fire.
It didn't last. It never lasts. Time grinds on. Six draws in six.
Chicago (0-1-6) wanders, stunned, into its bye week. The Fire return to action against a massively impressive Real Salt Lake side May 3 at Toyota Park. The Revolution (2-3-2) host defending MLS champions Sporting Kansas City on April 26.