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balcony, digital art by phil gennuso

balcony, digital art by phil gennuso

She was slightly dizzy, buxom, innocent. He was not sure how he wound up with her, it didn’t make sense.

She was much more Hollywood than New York, he thought, though her bubbly personality made it easier for her to fit in.

At that time he was running a chess parlour on 42nd street. A somewhat odd business, but it paid the bills and for her. She had expensive tastes, not intentionally, it just was the way she lived. Especially perfumes, and bracelets; she adored beautiful bracelets and expensive perfumes.

He was thinking of her summer habit of walking out on the balcony in the early morning, tossing her hair back, hands on the rail, sipping a coffee, touching the dew, pale neck, no makeup. He wanted to take a photo, or a hundred photos but she wouldn’t let him.

It started quite some time ago, back in high school, he joined the chess club, something to do, a way to belong. He picked it up from his uncle, father’s side, who was a VP and lived in the city, Brooklyn. He belonged to the prestigious Manhattan Chess Club. And his friend Albert, a great player from high school.

That was awhile ago, time passed, in the early 70s he took to riding down to the city, and wandering the streets, an urban explorer. His family had lived in Manhattan for quite some time, then his dad took them to the suburbs. His aunt still lived in the village, though he hardly ever saw her.

He chanced upon a chess club on 42nd street, up the stairs, smoke, coffee filled. All the guys (overwhelmingly) who never made it to the Manhattan or fancy clubs, for one reason or another. You paid a few dollars, and got so much time. Street chess. Sometimes even near fights broke out, unheard of for chess players. Arguments yes, but not fights.

And then one day, she walked up the stairs, into his chess club and into his life.

He is looking out of the window of his co-op, and dreaming, sipping his coffee, thinking, wondering.

The note she left is on the table, by the cigarettes. Her flight is probably in the air, to LA. He wishes her safety.


She is gone now, her perfume still lingers in the hallways, the dining room, the stairs, his senses.

He calls his real estate agent the next morning and puts his place on the market.

Another chapter, this one would not be forgotten anytime soon.

The Queen has left the chess board, an unscheduled, unofficial move.

This game is over.

digital art by phil gennuso

chess club, digital art by phil gennuso