• tab A Game of Chess.

    tab Mother was at dishes and Father was at chess. He had two moves to place checkmate against his foe; one hand on his thigh, the other on the game board, finding the exact parts to place to win; but, no matter what, it was futile: the air would place standards of trickery against him, and father was left to his dismay, pouting as he slammed his fists against the warm mahogany table. The bamboo stripes that covered the walls were like a chamber to his disconsolate. Twenty minutes of pensiveness, all for the futile notion of losing.
    tab How little it did him to waste his time when he could be at work, or reading the local newspaper, or visiting nice neighbors on the same suburban streets who only cared for what he had to say and nothing more; and this irked me, for it seemed that only the friends that I had were in nice regards to my parents. Did I link these families together; and, nonetheless, they had no extracurricular ideals. I wished them off with these freaks; have them educated with the etiquette of proper behavior amongst the good folk—the same of which they raised and influenced for me to endeavor about.
    tab But I would not peruse such thoughts, for my mental state—not at chess, nor dishes—was to the return to my room and stare upon the credenza, beneath the large mirror that reflects my silhouette, but not my full figure. The credulity of life—how I succumb to it, was nudging me with more frequency by the day. Every evening had been the same for me: Mother would return to her house duties—a smart girl with potential, yet deteriorating with the thoughts of failure in the outside world and close-mindedness; Father—with his competitiveness, yet he irked me with his sense of arrogance—all was equal in thought…equality was not of my taste, though. What I wanted was to be challenged and competed against; to lose and have to overcome my anguish and have that again and again until that vexed me too; then I would be off to explore the country. I would never want a proper home, not a household, not a family in which to labor in order to produce their successes. The generation strikes me profoundly, as all I cared for was the hopes and dreams of ridding myself of these brainwashed, frenzied mentors; rid me of the responsibility of my roots that had no significance to me, so that I could prosper elsewhere; learn the French language; emigrate to the unknown; immigrate to Europe to learn of the Holocaust and the revolution; learn the languages; marry a nice Lithuanian woman.
    tab But no, it was checkmate and Father had lost, and so went the hope of daydreams as we were called to supper. Passing the drawing-room and nearing the foyer, all the walls were clean, bare, and white. Not the white of a blank canvas, however; all was fairly clean, things were too tidy, and the room stenches of cleaning alcohol.
    tab “What dull sense you have!” inquired Mother at last.
    tab And I averred, “What have you mean?” as I was startled by the ferocity in her voice.
    tab “Wash your hands, ninny!” she would cry, wiping her own with the soot of housework, the labor of the yard, the spice of herbs that tainted her hands with a burning sensation—spices, reader, such as cayenne, saffron, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon—and all that you could caper in the small pantries of the average living of average people in average households of average neighborhoods I yearn to forget. She had been reading the Odyssey and was accustomed to the insults of the Cyclopes, calling me a ninny! But, skew to my fluster of thoughts, at the same time, I would never want to go to the big cities, where clusters of the populace flock together, churned into one large wave with parts indescribable, only to show what successes have reached the top. And I looked upon the mirror with wild eyes, trying to describe my being from the rest of the surroundings, but I could not help but blend in with the ocean shore as I came crashing down. I wept upon the rocks as I saw my whole quarter being torn apart from the ground up. I saw the jagged shoreline pervade the foundation, then throw away the nice lamps, the abstract paintings of faked Picasso drawings, the lovely books—oh, how I wished to be something grand in literature—and the nice memories of my childhood. All was lost in that pit of water, only trembling to reach out for the perpetually far sky.
    tab Have it be so, I waited. Watching the shore. Waiting.
    tab In silence.
    tab I see a crevice of light from within the jagged, blackened stones, and I go to grasp it, but I think: How strange it is to see light from within a dark grotto…
    tab And then I subside and wake to the present where my father is serving the collard greens to me, the bits of stale bread, the average broth of a filthy soup, the stench of breath as it sucks up the food with the dry curvature of its lips.
    tab I stay there, thinking, thinking hard for once in all my life, and I wonder how I will make it out; how will I triumph the rest without great advantages. I don’t want to stay in this suburban neighborhood, or be an average teacher at the local secondary school, thriving for small objectives, but never something true and prodigious.
    tab I feel as if all these thoughts are fermented and coalescing together as an aftereffect, and I must work with the flow of the current—and at the last minute, before I enter yet another estuary, reunited with the average, quaint life I transpire ire for, I throw myself to the whirl pool in full uncertainty.
    tab Uncertainty is the key to life, and it scares me with every mistake I make.
    tab Again, Father returns to chess and Mother to more dishes. They go to sleep, to the reunion of such labor all over again when dawn hits their eyes. Father will come from work, his mind at full set for another round against himself. Never would he checkmate the adversary, for it was an equal to him. How could one play by themselves all the time—surely child’s play and nothing more. I felt superior, far more mature, yet I knew I was still young and stupid.
    tab He knew the steps to take fairly well. And as I watched him, eyeing closely to study the wisdom he exerted to a feeble game, I realized I had been playing a game of chess too; one with the same rules as Father—a duel of similarity.
    tab And for that, I pondered a new realm.
    tab With my coming doubts, I was left unsure.