The Gold Medal: A true life story

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Photo Credit: Aditya Joshi

How did I get here? I thought to myself as I peered at the checkered board for the umpteenth time. It lay spread before me like it was an ouija puzzle that had only just sprung out from the blues. Only a while ago, she came around; to watch me play.

She smiled a most amorous smile that got me smiling back. Her eyes filled with admiration as she maneuvered her way slowly across the hall until she got to a spot where she could watch me play from behind. She bent to drop a soft drink beside my table.

“Win this one for me,” she whispered. Her lips were so close to my ears that I could feel the warmth in the words rolling as soothing airs over the hills of my ears.

Her soft fingers barely rested on my shoulders as they lifted up like butterflies fluttering away with fading wings into the horizons. I watched her walk away and made my move on the board as I tapped my clock.

My face, laced with a satisfying smile, made anyone who cared to observe envious and jealous. Only then did I hear the sudden scream of my opponent as he shouted, “Thank you, Jesus!”

And he banged real hard on the clock. His voice traveled the space between us—a startling reverberation that drew everyone’s attention to our board.

I looked at the sixty-four squares and knew something was missing. Another look and I realized what it was. My head starts to spin. Oh no; this couldn’t be happening, I said to myself. It was like the 1999 NBL championship all over again. I winked in three fast successions, telling myself this wasn’t true, that what am presently seeing wasn’t happening.

A teammate standing close by beckoned to our coach; he looked at my board, shook his head, then left. I felt his irritation crowding my thoughts. My shoulders sank as others looked at my board. The weights in the stares shrouding mine, and my heart began to pound. I think I just blundered my Queen!

To be continued…

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