Unsolicited Advice

[Updated 10/25/2016]

Murph shakes his head. “Darci’s not visiting her parents to install some grab bars or toilet seats.” He moves his king out of check, placing it in line to take my avenging knight. “She’s going because she’s worried about them, and being a couple of hours away isn’t going to ease her anxiety.”

I pull my knight out of harms way, and the moment I release Murph grabs his queen, moves it down to my end of the board.”Check.” My rook lost, my only defense is to move the king out of check, but as I’m looking down at the board I now see the futility of the game. He’ll have me in two, three moves top, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. I extend my hand across the board — “Time to get back to work.”

He takes my hand perfunctorily, begins grabbing the pieces off the board. “Make sure you keep in touch with Darci. Call her, send her a text, every day. Send flowers.”

“Darci isn’t in to flowers.”

He flips the raised board over, and I help him collect the pieces into the underneath storage compartments. “How about her parents?”

“Huh.” A memory from last Thanksgiving, dinner at their house. “Living room’s like a garden.”

Murph collapses the board, plastic pieces tumbling inside. “Send the flowers. Darci will appreciate you’re thinking about her parents.”

“Got it.” Board tucked under his arm, Murph begins walking out of the cafeteria, swerving between the loosely assembled chairs and tables like it’s a slalom course. I hustle around an unoccupied table, catch up to him — “So did you know all that before you got married, or was it on the job training?”

He keeps walking, giving me only a cursory smile. “It’s human nature. Being married’s got nothing to do with it.”

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