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Bianca Boonstra

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Playing a game can lead to frustrations

“Shall we play a game?”

“What game?”


“All right!”

John walks to the cupboard and he takes out the chess game. It is a special one, made entirely out of glass. His brother received it as a gift from his grandpa and grandma.

Both boys silently set up the game and start to play. Steve, the strongest player opens the game. It requires concentration of both. I watch them play, with a smile on my face…


“What’s wrong John?

”Steve is using that trick on me again!”

“No! What I did was legal and you know that!”

“Steve, listen! You know as well as I do that your brother doesn’t have as much experience in chess as you do. Even I don’t understand that game well enough to play a proper game. How can we know if a “trick” you learned at school is a legitimate move? I can’t check it out. Only you can…”

“What do I have to do now?”

“Son, you have two options. Either you’re going to teach your brother some of the rules, as well as some tricks that you have learned. Or you quit playing and put the game away for a while, until your brother has learned how to play properly.”

“Okay…I’ll teach him some moves, so he can play.”

A smile appears on my face, knowing that he chose the best option. They continue the game and have fun in between, telling each other spiced up stories about school. Then, as a thundercloud on a clear sky appears Allie.

“John, I’m going to help you. Together we’ll beat Steven in this game.”

“That is impossible!” Steve reacts.

“Check, John”

“Oh yeah?” John makes his move.

“Yeah! Check again.”

John sighs but doesn’t give up. He makes another move.

Steve finishes the game…”Check Mate.”


“Yes John…” I already know what he is going to say.

“Steve wins again. I am never going to be a good chess player. He always wins.”

I see tears in his eyes. I pull him gently towards me and give him a hug.

“Sweetie, you did your best. Steve plays better, while he has more chances to exercise at school, and he learns how to play there too. You are young; you have all the time in the world to learn how to play chess. Come… you have a page to read for tomorrow…”


In the mean time Allie and Steve have set up the pieces for a new chess game. I decide to let them go. Their game starts and I can hear them giggle. John sits close to me, he reads the words aloud. I listen and make corrections when necessary.

The front door opens and my husband comes in. It seems like his entrance is going to be the flame that leads to an enormous explosion…

“Check Allie…”

“You…” She holds her hand for her mouth. Then she makes her move.

“Check again…”

“Steve, I hate you! I am never going to play with you again. You always win. I hate that! Stupid game…” She throws the chess pieces over the table, then runs to her room.


I follow her to her room and am just in time to see her smash the door to her room with a big bang. When I enter her room she vents her anger. These words pierced through my heart and that hurts. I won’t repeat what she said though I ordered her to stay in her room for the rest of the day.

I go down and see Steve… tears pearling down over his cheeks.

“Why? Why did she have to throw all the pieces over the table? They’re made out of glass, they can break… Mom, I don’t understand…” He tries to hide his tears from me but doesn’t succeed.

“Son, some people are bad losers. They can’t stand the fact that others play better than they do. I guess your sister belongs to that group as well.”

I give him a kiss on his cheek and wipe a few tears away.

“I suggest you put the game back into the box for a while. One day you’ll teach your mom how to play and count on it, boy…I am going to beat you!”

“Hahaha! I don’t believe that you can beat me, Mom. Nice try!”

“Now, you are smiling. That is good. So, forget the chess game and what has happened this afternoon and start another game with your brother. Go outside, for example, to play some ball on the square…”

“Good idea, Mom! John, do you want to play with me?”

“Sure! I’ll put my shoes on, and then I’m coming with you.”

“I’ll take the ball with me, okay?”

“Yes, okay. Mom, do we have to wear a jacket?”

“No, it is warm enough to play outside without wearing a coat. You can go without your jacket.”

There they go, my two boys…. I enjoy every second that I can hear them laugh.
Five minutes later, Allie comes down. Apologies are given and accepted, it makes me wonder if she realizes what went wrong exactly. She vanishes through the back door, to join her brothers in their game. Finally I have some rest… but for how long?


They play outside for half an hour. Then I hear one of the boys crying. The sound comes closer and I start to sigh. Gone is my rest…John arrives with a bleeding nose and scratched knees. I don’t ask what happened and start to clean up his nose and knees. Allie and Steve arrive two minutes later, still fighting about how John got hurt. Fortunately for me my husband takes them apart for a good talk. John still sobs and I take him upstairs, he is tired. Allie and Steve both follow their brother after the conversation with their dad. Both are silent, I can read anger in their eyes. I wish them a good night and hope that tomorrow will bring a brighter day.

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Reviewed by Bianca Boonstra 2/1/2005
I love the story mum,
love your daugther...
Reviewed by W.D.Wilcox 6/24/2003
A wonderful story of a mother's love and unending patience for her children.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 6/15/2003
wonderful write, bianca! (((HUGS))) :) check out my new story, the continuation of "please god, let her live! (part two)"; already got two reviews on it! :) love, your texas friend, karen lynn.
Reviewed by Trish - The Trickster 6/15/2003
A terrific write and a wonderful story.
Reviewed by mj hollingshead 6/15/2003
ah, i remember the days!
well written, brings the reader right into the work

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