I can still beat Charlie at chess, even if I play the black side. I’ve got a feeling, though, that this won’t last for long. The other day, he asked if he could borrow BCO, and I can see that he’s already playing some of those openings.
“Are there such things as professional chess players?” he asked me.
“Yeah, not many,” I replied, “but a few. You gotta be world class to make a living, and it’s a tough life, but it can be done.”
Over the board, he fell right into my trap.
“You also gotta learn to keep your queen protected!” I chuckled.
He thought for a while, and then captured my bishop with his rook, initiating an exchange that would give him a slight plus.
“Not bad, Charlie!” I said. “How’d you find that exchange?”
“Thinking of futebol,” he said. “Think I could be a professional futebol player like Pai was?”
Beryl was playing the guitar, and I thought how neat it would be if Charlie were a professional musician. He’s nearly mastered the violin, and he’s already started composing on it. I can see that he loves it. I wondered why he didn’t think of becoming a professional musician.
He was still analyzing chess positions when Berry and I took our supper out at the patio table.
“Ever thought of becoming a musician?” I asked Charlie.
“What, like a fiddle player?” he said.
“Well, that. Or a concert master for a symphony. Or a composer, conductor, or member of a quartet. Or maybe a solo violinist.”
After supper we sat down to another game of chess. I had white this time.
“You know, Mae,” Charlie said, “the thing about music is that I love it. It’s where I go that’s all mine and I can do when I want. What if I had to play and I didn’t want to? What if it became work?”
Knowing how my attitude towards my writing shifts when I’m writing for publication as opposed to when I’m just writing for me, I had to admit Charlie had a point.