Checkmate

This is it.

Your crowing achievement, your glory, your future, all rests on this moment. Everything you've done, everything you've said, every move you've made on the chessboard, it all comes down to this moment. You have it.

The knights went down in a blaze of bloody glory when they took out the bishop and the rook, the Queen is perfectly placed, the pawn is at the ready. It's been a hard game, and it looks as though anyone can win, but you know better.

You're the winner, through and through. You'll have it, in just two more moves, you'll make the play that wins the game. Just two more moves.

It's a risk to do this. If anything goes wrong, it'll be the end of it all. If even one pawn is lost, the game is over. It has to be perfect, or not at all. But that's how life is, right? There is no halfway. You either sacrifice it all to gain it all, or sacrifice nothing and gain nothing. You aren't one of those who sacrifices everything for nothing. You're the winner. In just two more moves.

Chess has long been called a metaphor for life. Some pieces can't move in some ways, others can move in any way you want it to. Sometimes you have to sacrifice things to win. But you have to think before you act in chess, just like in reality. You have to look a few moves down and every way your opponent can possibly move before you can make yours. If you don't, it's easy to get caught up in the median and forget that you aren't trying to kill all the pawns, you're trying to checkmate the king. You have to keep your eye on the prize.

Eye on the prize…

It's past midnight. She's left everything behind for him, everything. She threw away her whole life, all of her dreams, her family, everything, all for him.

Your opponent moves his knight. You almost laugh, but catch yourself just in time. They can't know what they've done. You've got it. This is the moment of truth, and you're the one with the truth on your side. They can't know your plan.

His car pulls into the drive, stalls for a moment, then shuts off. There's silence, then a door slams shut and he staggers toward the door. Just like yesterday and the day before. Just like tomorrow would be. How could he do that? Tomorrow is their 20th anniversary.

It's all in place. One more move, one more move and you've got it. They've walked their way into your trap, you're beautiful plan to checkmate his king is all coming together. One more move…

The door opens and he drags himself in. The pistol shakes, then fires. He's dead before he hits the ground.

Checkmate, and you've won. The game is over, you've triumphed, the war is won. Your opponent didn't even know what hit him.

She looks in his hand.

You've won. So why does the victory seem so empty?

He was bringing her roses.

Checkmate.