Stalemate

“Do you just want to call it a stalemate?” I offered.

“Let’s play for just a few more minutes,” Oz responded delightfully.

There is a small coffee shop right by campus. It’s one of my Favorite Places. The chairs don’t match. There is origami hanging from the ceiling and local art on the walls. Coffee Shop

And the drinks are served tongue-burningly hot. The old movies constantly playing on the television screen and strange background music provide me with enough a sense of wonder and calm that my heart feels at home.  Looking around, it is what I imagine the inside of my head would look like.

So I was a little nervous to take Oz there for the first time. What if he rejected a place I so dearly love? What if he realized that this is how messy I am internally?  This was a reality in mind.  With so many things  happening at once, and unable to get ahead, I often found myself feeling stuck and unable to find a silver lining. I was worried. What if he forgot to find this place beautiful?

After losing himself in the local area (multiple times, but I don’t think he’s going to appreciate me bringing it up), he finally found me waiting in the parking lot.  He had his pseudo-grumpy face on, but a smile cracked through the facade when he saw me. Hand and hand, we entered the coffee shop.  He took in his new surroundings with a smile, and instantly my fears were soothed.

Our table was inlaid with a checkerboard, and after dinner I challenged him to checkers.  Since there weren’t any game pieces to be found, we played with sugar packets. I was fairly certain I would lose. I’m one of those people. I give great effort, and am greatly competitive, but I have an even greater tendency to lose. Besides, it is a game of logic and strategy. It seemed right up Oz’s alley. I was purely hoping to be perceived as a worthy opponent.

But somehow I survived. And it was down to king versus king.

“Do you just want to call it a stalemate?” I offered.

“Let’s play for just a few more minutes,” Oz responded delightfully.

I enjoyed his vigor. It really had me thinking, You shouldn’t count yourself out so quickly, ElJust because you are evenly matched doesn’t mean you’re doomed to be stuck in a stalemate (or worse lose).  You still hold the competitive advantage of being ingenious and unexpected, as all humans do. If you stay in the game long enough, who knows, you just might surprise yourself.

I know Oz did.

Long story short, within 5 moves, I had him cornered. I won.

A gleam of revenge showed in his eyes as he finished his hot chocolate. I smiled, no longer feeling like I was in a stalemate. Like I could keep moving forward, with a worthy and formidable partner by my side, ready to help me conquer other stalemates in my life and maybe occasionally attempt to beat me at checkers.

(Pre-defeat)

My worthy and formidable partner!

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