Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Checkmate

She's always been the type to lie. Her initial reaction to any statement that ended in a question mark. The truth left her empty - always did; always will - so why not lie?

Funny that an honest man is better at it than she is.

He'd lost interest in her long ago. And she knows she needs to be with another liar. It's the only way for her life to mean anything. He should just get up and walk away, but she challenged him to this game. And he's stubborn about challenges.

"I love you," she says. It is an opening move meant to disarm, but he's seen that one before.

"I don't care." Riposte. A pawn in the open. Will she chase it? Or does she still not know the rules?

"You never did." She tries to widen her puppy-dog eyes, knowing the value of visual reinforcement. They quickly shift to a disgruntled squint in response to his refusal to take his own eyes off the board.

He does see her expression - both of them - and holds back a confident laugh. She's beautiful, no question about that, but if ever the cliché concerning inner beauty were true, it is now. Her pale skin hides tissue diseased in its existence. A rotting corpse living in a spoiled and wasted body, white knights foolishly attempting rescue. Bishops skirting the issue from corner to corner.

Good thing, then, that the rook prefers the blunt, direct approach. "Your move," is his only response.

They are queen and king in every sense of the irony. She, powerful in motion and overbearing beyond the limits of patience, failing to recognize that she exists only to protect her king. He, subtle in motion and preferring to hide behind a wall of peers, failing to recognize that his queen is his best asset. Still, he can survive without a queen. She is lost without a king.

She castles, shifting her king to another location. It is a strategy that does not exist in the real world. A lie on the battlefield. How apropos, he thinks. How useful, is her own thought on the matter.

White falls to black and black to white, leaving chips of gray in the wake of simplistic frays. He lives here, in the gray, knowing that is how the world works. She prefers the black and white of wrong and right... and as long as she is on one side, she believes her motives to be pure.

"I've never lied to you," she claims, knowing he will recognize this as a lie. Still, better than a half-truth, which she oddly disdains. One or the other is her philosophy. Purity, if one would.

"A secret is a lie." It is a statement not intended for her, for she is unwittingly incapable of keeping secrets. But he knows it will piss her off.

It does. With a quick and violent swipe, the board and its pieces are sent to the floor. He flinches, holding his hands close to his chest.

"You don't get it! I just wanted to be happy!" she yells.

"And what does that entail, exactly?" It is a question she's never been able to answer, not even with a lie.

"Fuck you." Ah, that old staple. She storms off.

He can't resist. "You lose."

She turns and glares at him. "We didn't finish." There is pride in her sarcasm, both in her voice and in her eyes. She begins to laugh and leaves the room.

Watching the door slam shut, he allows a small smile. He no longer cares to prove anything to her. Opening his left hand, his king is revealed. Placing it on the table, bereft of battlefield, of ally, and - most importantly - of enemy, he whispers, "Checkmate."

He pities her, truly. Such a person can never be happy, and he knows she knows it. Searching for pieces of games she will never finish, she will be as empty of life as the room will be when he, too, leaves.

Closing the door behind him, he takes one last glance at the king on the table. Devoid of conflict, it stands alone, content in its peace. And patiently awaiting the next player.

8 comments:

  1. Oh I've had chess games like this. Have you ever come across Bertram Russel's paradox?

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  2. an intriguing tet a tet...i dont know if i am supposed to feel happy for him in the end...of sad for both...like the play off chess...

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  3. I feel sorry for him. He is so sure of having won and yet....

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  4. what has he won...surely no more than she has lost. Great verbal chess match, a pleasure to read

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  5. Sounds like a bit of alpha posturing to me. I hate unresolved arguments. Great allegory for an uncommunicative relationship thoug. He's not a very pleasant character though. Phyrric victory, the battle lost but the war isn't over.

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  6. Huh. Sounds to me like there can never be a winner in this game. Or, as long as they can keep the game going, they are both winners.

    Nice capture of a dysfunctional relationship.

    This kind of reminds me of the 1980s play Chess (from which this came).

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  7. Hmmm, I wonder what inspired this? Why did he need to add "You lose"? Men ;). On the other hand the whole story is sad.

    Funny, I referenced a game tonight briefly in my blog. One I actually know how to play. Chess is one I never even had a lesson in.

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  8. Ok I fell asleep on the keyboard and realized I hadn't commented

    Check Mate - Ha

    Nice one Jeff

    ZZZZZ

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