"She, The Bishop"

I suppose an intelligent, metaphorical connection can be made between life and chess, about choosing correct moves and perfecting calculations. Alas, I am no poet. If I were, perhaps I would spend the summer eves in a hammock, a gentle breeze would touch my brow, and I, in witty embrace, would hold life's answers at the tip of my pen. But I am no such writer. Usually, these thoughts are not even of my nature. The cause was her.

An early noon in July, I believe. My companion and I had occupied the bench and table nearest the edge of the park, our usual spot, and, after assembling the board and pieces, engaged in our almost-daily game of chess. The park was a quiet place of dainty grace those days. Families and friends gathered, flying disks soared overhead, an aroma of roasted meat and potato chips cut into the air. Everyone was young, myself included, and humanity itself appeared lost in a sunny haze. Eyes were glazed over in the everyday ease that permeated us all; and even I did not foresee the changes heading.

She approached our table calmly. Of course, being the perceptive man I am, I had noticed the girl before. She picked wild daisies and tulips in the field, swung barefoot in the rusted swings, frolicked with a smaller brunette child whom I took for her younger sister. She had an auburn flash of curls, a smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks, and, upon the closer inspection she offered, I noticed her eyes to be deep, as eyes should be. I could declare no specific colour, no hue or tint, but revel in the idea of deep, enigmatic orbs; eyes one could dedicate years to understand and still find more secrets to unlock. Thus, she came.

My friend, who is more adept at social situations, presented a grand "Good morning" as she seated herself on the bench near ours. I acknowledged her with a hasty nod. Initially I feared she would attempt to converse with us and the conversation, which I'm sure would be meant for three, would dissolve into a discussion between two persons: he and her. She did not speak out however, politely sitting only and observing our game. Her vivid eyes followed each wooden piece as if every action portrayed an aspect of life. Pawn, bishop, queen; every one contained similar importance to her. Blankly I began to wonder to myself if the fluttering depths behind her eyes depicted whatever connection life and the game of chess shared. But I am no poet.

As the weeks progressed, she made visits frequently to our park table. Some days she would watch keenly, some days she would run about the park on her own.

I cannot voice for my companion, but I began to feel as if an odd friendship was settling in the midst of us three. The conversation gently elevated to quaint remarks of the weather and bits of news concerning the neighborhood, and, although we never dived into epic discussions, we understood one another. It seemed. Resting under the blue, we allowed the cries of children and dogs, the rhythmic chorus of blue jays, the forgotten hush of the wind to fill our closed lips. Occasionally the serenity broke for one to clear a throat, for her to push her fingers through her tangled curls, but altogether the silence was refreshing. Our chess games became a moment of bliss among the everyday ruckus.

And then she asked, "May I play next?"

That July afternoon, my friend answer, "Sure thing, play Michael here."

No amount of preparation could have readied me for such a declaration. She smiled pleasantly as we finished our game and continued to display her lips as such as she took the seat before me. I cannot say exactly what thoughts took birth within me at that moment, that intersection with the wily fates. The determined and courageous being who held me as I played I cannot, to this day, identify, but I engaged the woman as any other player. We, as poets may say, became the game Had she acquired knowledge of chess while watching our bouts or had she been a master beforehand-- it did not matter. But as her cheeks flushed and her breath began to come in drawn, lasting gasps, I felt it.

A rising anticipation. A hurried excitement. Between us bore a swell, some attacking heat only beating hearts can produce and only lovers and poets can decipher. Similar perhaps to the utmost peak of elation an athlete feels at the tip of a marathon.

And she continued to smile.

I am not sure why I won the game, but I knew, for reasons beyond my grasp, I could not lose.

Later that eve, walking home, I began to think thoughts I know fear to be foolish. Perhaps the next day, I would involve myself in a chat with her. Perhaps comment on her petite brow, or the gentle curve of her lips. Perhaps invite her on a walk through the wildflower field. I would hold out my hand, I thought, and she would understand fully and lay hers in mine.

Maybe she would like a strawberry cone, I thought. And even if she dropped the ice cream accidentally, I swore to myself, I would treat her to another.

Incessantly thoughts such as these took root and blossomed inside me. For once, I believe, I smiled while falling into sleep. And the next afternoon as my companion and I arrived and played our game, as I allowed my eyes to strain the park for sight of her-- she did not come.

After we finished our games, after the mothers carried their napping babes home, after the robin settled quiet within his nest-- she did not come.

Perhaps poets could find apt words and lingering sentences to describe the moment; making lasses weep beneath trees and touching many hearts, but I am no such man.

Simply, as I stood, with enough coins for two strawberry cones in my pocket, with the sun safely nestled beyond the horizon, she did not come.

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--A/N: Poor, poor Michael. u.u; I tried to write it to sound wordy, thinking that this is how he would tell the story. But after typing it, I did not like it as much as I did when it was on paper--