Thursday, December 18, 2008
I never knew that while my father taught me how to play chess, he was also teaching me the reality of courtship and eventual love.
Where most players are seeking a checkmate, my games often ended with two kings dancing around the chess board. Instead of an official end, the game's denouement was a handshake, a white flag, a stale mate.
It wasn't until many years later that I realize I often played the game of love with equal measure.
I would rush into the challenge, knocking over pawns and losing key players in my pursuit of the king. I would give away my secrets too soon, make the same mistakes time and time again, and eventually find myself with two kings on the board, but no queen between them.
The most powerful player of all, was lost early.
She was often taken on the first exchange, lost to a mere pawn or a stealthy knight.
Yet eventually the time came when I realized the previous blunders that led to perpetual check, but never a mate.
I began to move about the board cautiously, playing my strongest players beautifully, protecting both king and his female counterpart until the very end.
And as my queen made her way across the final board to capture the king... I realized there were only two players left, but they fit together perfectly.
No longer a stale mate.
A check mate instead.