• Checkers has always been my number one love in the world, while my second was being around my pals. Perhaps to normal people, the love of these two should be switched around. I would be normal if it weren’t for the fact that my pals were just a group of actors. No not the type that mingles and has fun putting on a show; the type that may as well be ghosts who cannot see or hear you. That’s the kind of pals I got stuck with. It didn’t matter what I said, what I did, or how I looked on the outside. I was just there like they were just ‘there.’
    These pals soon got the best of me. I could no longer take being ignored by them. I could no longer be the silent stone that people just pass by without a care. Loneliness eventually takes its toll after all. No one can live alone. It will turn you crazy. It turned me crazy. For the sake of keeping my sanity, I locked my mind in the board game. I spent hours and hours playing against a variety of people. My opponents were statues. I did not care to speak to them, much less look at them.

    ‘King me.’
    ‘King me.’
    ‘King me.’

    I was a machine devoid of emotion. Naturally, my opponents did not care for the cold shoulder. They saw me as arrogant, called me a freak of nature for beating them without making a single sound. Their words struck a chord, but my face stayed the irritating blank that had stuck for four years straight. When calling me a freak wasn’t enough, one teenager pushed an inch farther. “You seem to love the game, so why don’t you marry it? No one else will marry a stone. You two would make a perfect match.”
    It didn’t hurt, his babbling. It did not feel as though he was being mean to me. I liked the idea so much, and I remember thanking him for it with the first smile that I managed to craft in a long…long time…

    That was the first sign that my sanity was gone.

    After my game session which had lasted from 5am to 8pm with no breaks, I took my checkers set and walked home to my little apartment room. Excited, I took the pieces out of the box. Those black and red flat circles laid stacked in my white palms. “You are the only ones who understand me, who care to know me. Let us be together forever.” I went to the kitchen, fiddled with a single checker piece, a black circle with traceable rigid edges. The only way we could be together without those wicked eyes of thousands of people crammed together in a church building was to take them with me in a more direct route.

    I opened my mouth. I dropped the piece. Swallowed. One down. I placed the remaining pieces beside me and coughed as the black coin made it roughly down my throat. The pain of the scratchy edges, hard and bumpy surface, left drag marks behind as it slid its way to my stomach. I opened my mouth again, dropped another piece, and swallowed. I continued the motion, uncaring that the hunks of plastic were forming a tower in my body. I was determined to finish. Open. Drop. Swallow. Open. Drop. Swallow.

    Did I ever finish securing my dream of having someone…something to accompany me through life? All I remember now is the blood and spit that foamed out of my chapped lips after I collapsed. The board clattered to the tile. My eyes, all blurry and red from tears, watched as it sat face down on the floor. I missed a piece. Bummer.