Fireworks, A Lack of Ducks, The Rules Of Chess
Last Saturday I went with Roy, Kevin, and Lydia Zinn, and Chung Hao (who's not a Zinn but then again neither am I) to go see the hugest annual event in Alcoa, the pre-Fourth fireworks, which were done three days early because assumedly they didn't want to have to compete with the show Knoxville puts on. It was put on at the Alcoa City duck pond, which got me pretty excited because I thought we were going to see ducks. To my dissapointment, we wound up sitting a little too far from the pond to see ducks, and Kevin and Lydia thought they might've ferried the ducks elsewhere so they didn't get traumatized by the fireworks. I guess the idea of preserving collective duck sanity appeased me, so I settled for not seeing ducks at the duck pond. It was a fireworks show anyway.
While we sat and ate ice-cream waiting for the show to start, we started talking and eventually the conversation came round to how fast some people decide to get married. Rachel and Wisam had known each other for two months, and then he proposed to her. We compared that courtship to a drag race. Sometimes you just know where you need to go, and there's no sense taking corners, you just go in a straight line as fast as you can. Then Kevin said Roy had proposed pretty quickly too. I'd been subject to a few comments about my singleness of late, so I thought I'd ask Roy what the correct method of courtship was. He, being a pastor, surely wouldn't give me bad, worldly advice. You know, the sort you get from magazines.
He said "Well, first, you make a move. Then you wait for her to make a move. Then you respond with a move, and then she makes another move."
I blinked a couple times. "So it's like chess?"
"Yes, it's like chess. Then eventually, after a lot of moves, you ask her to marry you, and that's checkmate."
"Yes, basically you're asking a girl if she'd like to play chess."
I thought about that for a bit, then I asked "Well, what happens if you make three moves in a row?"
He shook his head. "No you're not allowed to. Then you lose. However, while you're waiting for her to make a move, you can remind her that you made a move."
"Isn't that in itself considered a move?"
"No, it's just a reminder."
I thought about it a bit more, and then decided I was neither good at chess or courtship. Maybe someday she'll just fall in my lap when I'm not paying attention. I kicked back, finished my ice-cream, watched the fireworks, and looked around me from time to time at all the chessplayers, young and old, sitting on folding chairs, lying on the grass, gazing up at the sparkling, smoky sky.