The day before Mike and I left Texas to head home, we decided to jump in the car and head over to Galveston, a city known for being the 3rd most haunted city in the country. Plus, it has a pier and beach. After getting up and leaving early, in the hopes of beating the typical Texas humidity (which I have now learned is futile), we made the hour drive to this tiny little town, untouched by time.
We had a very loose plan in place for the day, but knew we wanted to start off getting some breakfast as we were both starving. However, after parking and realizing the place was literally a ghost town, we almost gave up and walked back to the car. I was hangry (see hungry & angry) and hot, which is an awful combination to be and Mike didn’t feel like hearing me whine.
But then I saw it. Out of the corner of my eye. And I jumped straight up and down out of pure excitement. Before Mike could understand what I had just seen, I was running across the street as fast as my legs would allow.
There it was. In the middle of this tiny little “park” square – there was a giant, “life-size” game of chess. Because playing chess in the park was one of my 213 in 2013 items and I couldn’t have found a cooler way to cross it off my list.
I’ve been a board game nerd my entire life. Monopoly, Scrabble, Checkers, Chess, you name it, I’ve played it. If I’m being honest, there are times I’d much rather play a game of Chess than go out for a night on the town. Some people may call that lame – I call it intellectually-stimulating-budget-friendly-fun. (Ok, that does sound really lame actually.)
Before Mike could even catch his breath I had already staked my claim on my side of the board and began pondering which piece I’d move first. I hadn’t played Chess in a few years and I was feeling a bit rusty (as in I called the rooks ‘castles’), but I was confident I could still kick Mike’s butt.
For the next hour or so, Mike and I enjoyed each other’s company as we played a giant game of chess. Other tourists stopped by and watched us for a while, some taking pictures, others offering strategies. I don’t remember the last time I had such care free fun. I didn’t look at my phone to check the time or obsess over email or my Twitter feed. I didn’t complain about the sweltering heat or my rumbling tummy. I had playful, silly, fun. And it was amazing because I don’t do it very often.
After Mike made a rookie mistake of letting up his Queen two moves into the game, we went back and forth with each other as the captured pieces began piling up. Poor Mike had only managed to take a few of my pawns and my rook, while I had taken the majority of his. I thoroughly enjoyed teasing him every time I snatched up another one of his pieces, dancing my victory dance like a little kid for anyone to see.
As if only a matter of time, Mike made a fatal mistake and I corned his King with my Queen and my Rook. I excitedly yelled “Checkmate!” and he slumped his shoulders in defeat, smiling and laughing at my childish excitement. He let me pick up my Queen and knock over his King so I could fully savor my victory.
We put the pieces back where we had found them for the next couple who wandered along to play, and went and grabbed some homemade old-fashioned ice cream to tame our tummies and fight the heat.
As we walked back to the car, melted ice cream in hand, I smiled to myself for letting six-year-old Niki come out to play. The one who laughed more, played harder and didn’t have a care in the world. The one who I hope to see more often.