Body Mapping

A Game of Chess

            A glistening bead of sweat drips slowly down from a receding hairline onto the forehead across from me. It glides down, like a drop of water sliding off of a melting icicle, coming ever closer to free falling, down towards my captured pieces: three black pawns, a knight, and a rook. Down the very large Polish nose of my father, the nose I myself inherited, and quivers for a moment, before finally giving up its grip to his skin. It splashes against the wooden table, making an almost inaudible thud as it finishes its course.

The look of concentration on that face is so deep one might imagine he is attempting to answer some impossible question. This is the same look that I have had on my face since the game began, the same concentration I had been raised into growing up playing chess. I look down at the board, trying to decipher what he will do next; he could move his left bishop to E3, capturing yet another of my pawns, but that would also leave one of his own unprotected, and vulnerable to a knight; he could move his remaining knight to capture my last rook, and lose his knight to my queen in the process, the move I would take were I in his position: rooks are my weakest piece. He however thrives on his knights, and so I doubt he will make that choice. Instead, I am planning on his simple movement of a pawn forward, to threaten my bishop into retreating.

A sound that isn’t quite a grunt escapes his lips as he leans forward to move his knight backwards, taking an unprotected pawn of mine, his hand lingering on the piece, making sure the move is safe. This is a move I hadn’t expected. It is only maybe 1 in 5 times that my father makes a move I predict. He has an extra 30 years or so on me when it comes to chess, and so almost all of his moves are without flaw. Once in a while, however, he does fail to notice something, and I am quick to take the prize.

As his hand leaves the piece, I start to calculate possible moves that could come from the new position of his knight. Right away, I notice that his knight is able to take both another pawn, and one of my bishops. I am left with the choice of taking the knight, or at the very least moving my bishop.

As I try to make a decision, I stretch my arms upwards, and glance at the time: almost 11:15. I can feel the hard wooden chair which I am sitting on, causing my muscles to be quite sore. I have been sitting without moving for probably almost an hour now.

I look back to the marble chess pieces, and move my bishop into position to take his king: check. Our eyes make contact as the word is said, both of us ready for its utterance. I see the slight signs of a smirk, or did I imagine it? Chances are the game is already over, and he has manipulated me into setting something in motion that cannot be undone.

He instantly moves his king out of check, putting his queen directly into the line of my own king: check. Our eyes meet again and he is smiling. I move my rook to block the line of attack, after deciding that was the best course of action.

Again, an instant response from his own rook. I search the board for options, seeing only one, one that causes checkmate on my next turn. I sign with defeat as I realize what has happened, and take my one move. He again moves his rook, and leaves me to move my king directly into the corner of the board. He moves his queen into the only logical spot: checkmate.

I look out the window as the board is reset.

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