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The Benefits of Playing Chess with Tyler
written by: Marla Lacherza Bracco
On a tethered fuchsia carpet, I had gotten into it with those girls over
computer time and who’s turn it was to play Oregon Trail and that’s why
when we were forced to pick a partner that afternoon, everyone was taken but you.
You and your fruit-by-the-foot and spit-stained fingers would soon be touching all of my knights and pawns.
But, Mrs. P said there was a point to all of this and that when we were done we would finally become critical thinkers and would foster precision, a pretty hard thing to do.
Three times a week for thirty minutes a day we would have a match and I would watch your nose drool while I explained to you the concepts and rules of how to steal my king. And every now and then you would pull on my hair and stick pencils up your nostrils to help me remember that it was only a game and that eight year olds don’t have to always follow the rules and that’s when I began to really like you.
You with your unmistakable hard belly laugh
You with your Jolly Rancher lips that you used to kiss the other girls and boys in class
You with your irreversible clumsiness and sarcastic posture
You with your frizzy coils and shameless neon attire
But, it wasn’t long before they began pulling your trousers down and shoving your small skull into the playground gravel. It wasn’t long before they broke your frames and kicked you in the shins and painted faggot on your backpack in white-out. It wasn’t long before your mom and dad had to come in and unimpressively tell everyone just who you were and how you shared DNA with the man on the moon. It wasn’t long before none of it really mattered.