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One to Two Steps at a Time

photo by KATHLEEN MAE I. GUERRERO

AFTER A long day of festivities and celebration, she sat at the edge of her king-sized bed in solitude. To think that from someone who sold pirated DVDs, she had become an award-winning film director. Life sure could be funny.

In her hand was a trophy decorated with authentic gold—nothing like the ones she grew accustomed to. Assured by its weight that this was reality and not just some fleeting dream, she closed her eyes. A memory from her childhood played at the back of her mind.

At the backroom of their stall at Quiapo where they used to live, her father and uncle sat across another with a chess board in between them. From a distance, she watched as the two men took turns in moving their pieces after each of their own thoughtful hums. This went on until her father only had a pawn, a knight and two rooks left—his queen strategically conquered.

Her uncle still had his queen, and while all his pawns and bishops had been annihilated, his knights and rooks remained unconquered. She was sure he would win, except his father’s voice suddenly cut through the silence.

“Checkmate,” he said with a smug grin.

She did not understand why her uncle had groaned in acknowledgement and so she asked.

Pride evident in his voice, he answered after planting a small kiss on her forehead, “Baby steps, honey—and pawns can become queens too.”

And she had. MARIA ANTOINETTE A. MALICSE

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