David Eddings. That's the author I think of, as I sit here with my chin resting on the cup of my palm, and eyes focussed on the board that carries the 32 pieces of chess. His character – in the Belgariad, I think, placed chess with Fate – a blank, unknown quanitty. That image does not seem amiss here. My right hand blindly reaches for the mug of cappuccinno that has got to be around someplace… and after a few seconds of groping, and not taking my eyes off the polished wood, the warm mug fits snugly into my hands.
I am not thirsty, but I need something to do as I wait for my opponent to make his move – and my eyes fix on his blank visage. Now, if only he wouldn't try to protect the pawn, I can knock out the Queen … it'll be check… I'll lose a knight, but I think I can swing it… and then, the Bishop from can take the Queen… if he leaves that pawn at d3 alone… If… What other move is open?
I interupt my ponderings to wonder if my face is too expressive. We are seated here, in the open air Barista, playing a game of Chess over a cup of coffee, and ever since this man sat down with his antique check set with ebony-and-ivory peices, he has not said a word. He fascinates me, enchants me, but I do not know how or why. He is an enigma, a puzzle… one that I am determined to crack.
Why is he an enigma anyway? It was he who suggested this game of Kings of India and Persia after we'd caught each other having coffee at early hours of the morning for nearly — four weeks now. My newspaper lay untouched in the morning for the first time in a long time, and he has not brought his today. Soon it will be time to return to the mundane life, but to be in his presence brings me such joy now. Him, with black hair lying flat on his head, his clear cut jaw and stubborn chin.
It is a cold morning, a slow one in this hill city, so I pull my cardigan tighter. His eyes flicker and follow the action and I feel a deep sense of satisfaction. He noticed. There was a game of chess going on here, and this one had only two players… and it was far more interesting to me than the movement of my black intricately carved peices across his board – after all, when there was the man himself to study, who would waste time on the game?
I shove an imaptient hand through my hair, flick a smile at him, and study his hands. Not for him the hestitation of a hand movign over all the coins on the board, as if in blessing, instead, his hand rushes out and in one swift, sure motion, the next step is taken. I enjoy seeing the long, strong, and firm hands when they are in that mode of action, as it is now, they are resting on the table top, flat against the cut and damaged plastic, peaceful unlike mine, which are drumming some tune.. a tune even I cannot identify.
Tomorrow? he asks, and as I gape – Checkmate.