The Chess Set

I am walking in my living room and I brush my chess set, knocking the pieces over. I quickly attempt to pick up the pieces and organize them but they are scattered across the room and under furniture. I know the big pieces like the kings, queens, and bishops will be easy to find and are most likely intact but I worry for the smaller and more fragile pieces like the pawns. Eventually, I gather all the pieces I can find and reorganize them in systematic ways, the white and black sides staring each other down in a cool indifference.

I remember my father telling me about the chess set. He and my mother were at an antique auction and my dad immediately fell in love with it. Intricately carved from beautiful pieces of polished woods, the mahogany and lighter brown colors shone and sparkled in the light. My father had to have it and bought it impulsively without asking my mother. It was very expensive so my mother was furious. However, she relented when he told her how important chess was to him because he played with his father. Soon enough, my father taught me to play (and always beat me) but I loved just playing with him. Now I think the chess set wants to be played again because we haven’t touched it in years. I hope that the chess set will always be there to bring my family together.

It has been a long time since my father and I have played anything together because my teenage years have given me friends and autonomy. Still, I wish to play with him again and when I ask, he agrees. For a moment, it is like I am a young child again, spending quality time with my father. Our moves in response to one another, a tango of the wooden figures. Then, miraculously, I beat him. I say “checkmate” as he gapes in astonishment, then smiles, and its as if its a rite of passage into becoming an adult.