The chessboard of life

4 min

I am a writer since I was a child, but I did not know... Now I am aware of what I am and I like it immensly. Since I am also an actress, when I write I like to see my story, like a movie, in my mind  [+]

Image of Short Story
Gray, everything was totally gray, the railway steel cable, the trains passing by without seeing her, the subway, only one parked car, the sky above. A solitary universe of gray.
Like a piece of the chess, the Queen, she was standing in the middle of the suburban parking lot, feeling a cold shiver of terror and impotence.
She had arrived at the last stop of the subway. After that the void was expecting her, rather, the Gray.

“Call me. I’ll come to pick you up.” He had told her. And so she did.

“I am here, waiting for you.”
“You have to wait a little bit more, sorry sweetheart but I am in a kind of mess...I will explain you later.”
“For how long? You knew I was coming...”
“Yes, but I couldn’t expect such a... pain in the neck.”
“Try to make it as soon as possible. This place gives me the creeps. I mean... it would be great for a movie set or for a photo shooting...but not for being here all by myself.”
“I’ll call you when I can, I have to hang up now...kiss you”

The mist was wetting her hair and the fur collar, she put on her gloves and beret, lit a cigarette and started to look for an anchorage of security, in case she had to wait longer than expected.
Unfortunately she couldn’t find anything suitable in those not existing place.
The space around her seemed getting smaller and smaller up to the point of sucking her in its Gray.
She felt suffocating with anguish.
She tried to reach the railway, but she couldn’t move from the centre, where she was, as if an invisible force would forbid her to go in other directions, horizontally and vertically.
Like a stand-off game.
She dialled his number, but he didn’t answer.
She was freezing, but made an effort to walk to the exit, towards a deserted almost endless boulevard, immersed in the fog, the yellow lights of the street lamps were like ghosts.
After few steps, she felt even more lost and scary so she went back, where she was feeling safer, after all.

The gray car started to move, though nobody she have seen at the wheel. But the driver window rolled down and an arm, covered with a white coat, dropped on the concrete a folded piece of paper. After the car was gone, she remained completely alone.
What was she supposed to do? Where were the other pieces of the game? Where was the King, her King?

Why did he let her playing completely alone a game started an inexplicable night, on the chessboard of their lives?
She could pick up that piece of paper, she thought. She moved horizontally to grab it and when she did it, she cherished in her hands, like a petal, fearing and desiring its content.

While thinking when and if to open it up, an old style Mercedes rather dented, entered the parking lot, flooring towards her direction. It looked like a raging bull in the arena ready to horn her.
Frantically she tried to escape in every direction, from the railway to the walls delimiting the parking lot. The Mercedes was zigzagging, breaking, slowing down, pawing the ground like a crazy bull ready to knock her down, the only target she was.
She found herself against the wall facing the car, too close, dangerously close, with its tinted windows, scraped varnish, headlight off, scars all over the body.
Blinded by the headlight, she shut her eyes as offering herself in sacrifice.
The car suddenly backed off and departed blowing the horn and screeching the tires.
She reopened her eyes and felt sweat blending with cold shiver along the spine, violently clenching the piece of paper.
The ring of the cellular scared her to death.

“Where are you?”
“Guess... and you? Damn! When are you coming?”
“My wife had a nervous breakdown and tried to commit must be patient.”
“You know that somebody tried to kill me? You cannot leave me is getting late. Send her to hell, once a for all. You did it for so many years, didn’t you? Have the courage to get your life back.”
“You are right, I can’t stand any more this situation. I am making you suffering, you, who came by so unexpected, you are precious for me...I can’t live without you.”
“Then, do something! Please! But do it now!”
And she clapped the phone closed, against her will, full of anger and desperation, hurt and mad at him.
Suddenly she remembered the piece of paper she had picked up. It was all crumpled in her hands.
The phone rang but she didn’t answer.
She unfolded the paper, finally.

“I have been looking for you for a long time. Please call me. We can start all over.”
There was a phone number and a signature she knew very well. The message represented a way-out, however she was not felt relived. She was in love with her King. Not with the Past.

The cell phone rang again.

“Listen sweetheart, everything will be fine, believe me. I will come and pick you up, don’t worry but I don’t know when...will you be waiting for me?”
“How can I believe you? I am in a scary place, I am almost run over by a car, I am freezing and I came here to meet you.”
“It is up to you if you want to believe me or not.”
“I know that...”
“I will call you soon, promise.”

“I believe you...”She told him when he couldn’t hear her any more.

She decided to go back to the subway station, but the doors were shut.
Tired and helpless, she squatted down against the wall, to smoke a cigarette. She took out the phone and started to digit the other number, but she stopped at the fifth figure.
There was non point to leave her makeshift hideout, it was becoming familiar and the night was approaching.
Embracing herself, she started humming the same lullaby that her mother used to sing to her. Then little by little she raised her voice to tear off the fog and the fear, and soon became a monologue, a loud cry.
She was invoking her King, desperately.

“Please...come and get me...don’t leave me alone...don’t let me down.”

She was running out of cigarettes, the cellular had just power enough to make two phone calls.
She called him, there was the answering service. She heard his voice.
She dialled the other number, there was the answering service. She heard the other voice.
She almost felt sick.
She cried all the tears she had, scattering them in the gray night, where there were no losers nor winners.
She covered her face with her palms like a child who wants to play hide and seek.
She fell asleep, weak and now indifferent to everything. The piece of paper was wet with tears, almost fading away.
The phone was dying, like her.

“Please do not abandon me. Do not make me dial the other number.” She cried out.

She heard a motor engine entering the parking lot, and two lights, like coyotes eyes, chasing her.
She almost shrunk in her corner, covering her head, like she used to do as a child to protect herself from her father’s beating.
She heard steps nearby and the headlights feeling warm and reassuring, like the voice that tenderly was telling her:
“You see, I came, sweetheart. I would never abandon you, never.”
She didn’t say a word but glued her lips to his mouth and the thousands of questions she wanted to tell him, sank fast in the night.
She rolled down the window and dropped on the gray asphalt that piece of paper representing the Past, whom for a moment she thought to cling to.
Nothing was worth it to be unburied if there was just a small piece of future waiting for her.

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