"You're trapped." he said, staring across the table at me, blue eyes laughing. "You got in, but where can you move now?" I look down, and it's exactly as he says. My knight is surrounded by killing zones, a veritable forest of death. I know that no matter what I do, I'm going to lose this game, but I don't know how to put up a good showing, so I just listen..and am forced to think. It's the way it always goes, but across a black and white board it's suddenly a lot more clear.

"Didn't stop to think of the disadvantages to going in deep, did you?" he laughs again, smile curving his face into something beautiful. A warlike angel, my violent man-child, picking off my pieces one by one. He could end it quickly, I'm sure, but yet he waits. "Would it help if I conceded that you're the better man?" I ask, teasing, but it's true. He's better, quicker, and better educated. Still, I think I at least match him in natural ability. And temperment, as he looks at me rather like a little boy cheated of his pleasure. "Not if it means you gave up."

He doesn't know, yet, that I never give up. Not when I'm playing against him against impossible odds, not when I'm standing close enough to breathe him in, not when I'm standing in uniform, locked up, giving a formal statement because it's the right thing to do. Not when he's holding me, like a friend, whispering, "You're a sweetheart", before letting me go. Not when we're talking about what could have been across a table, or when I'm holding his hand under the pretext of palmistry.

I don't give up. I'll accept, but I'll never give up.

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