By Nicole Janeway
The first time Valery beat her grandda at chess, she sat immobile, staring at the board for a long time. The chipped plastic pieces were arrayed across the grid of perfect squares. She had just realized that she would have him in checkmate in the next turn.
It was the same feeling that rose up in her at the edge of Niagara Falls – besides the need to go to the bathroom that is. Back when he could still lift her as easily as logs for the wood burning fireplace, grandda put her onto his shoulders. Valery sat with her hands on either side of his unevenly shaved head. She wanted to hold the image behind her eyes forever, not wanting to spoil it with the repetition of blinking, the ceaseless whirring of the human machine. But eventually, she would need to blink.
“Check mate.” When she said it, her voice was small, realizing for the first time that she could do something he couldn’t.