Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Saturday afternoon

I was a perfectly contented man sitting by myself in the reading room, reading my Straits Times before he opened the door and came in, a twenty-ish sod with an air of impatience implied from the perpetual furrow between his brows. He was holding onto a folded chessboard - one that you can put the pieces within the folded compartment - in his left hand.

"Do you play chess?", he asked, quite out of the blue.

There was an awkward short pause.

"I asked, 'Do you play chess?'", he asked again.


"Do - you - play - chess?", he asked again, with a tone that does not convey friendliness.

Looking around to see no one else in the room, it then seemed clear to me that I was being asked a qualifiably random question to do something quite unplanned for on a saturday afternoon when I was perfectly contented to be left alone in my leisure, by a stranger.

"Yeah I do." I quipped. I was quite certain that I won't be left to my own program anymore, even though I wasn't sure if I was about to interact with a new acquaintance in an activity I have no partiality towards.

"Then let's start already."

He moved towards the empty wooden table complete with two chairs at the corner of the room, and started laying out the black and red chess pieces on the chessboard which he had already opened up and positioned in the center of the table. I was still sitting in my comfortably warm armchair, not ready to accede it to anyone else who might come into the room. For all I know, this may be a cunning plan to get me away from this wonderful device.

"Come on, play play play. Hurry up." He pulled up his long sleeves and motioned me to sit in the chair which he was about to sit opposite to.

I wasn't sure.

"Come on, don't be a wuss."

And so he irritated me enough to begin what was to be several games of chess, with the results already decided before the start of the games.

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