Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Story inside a Story (III)

Was eagerly waiting for my roommate to finish her game. She had had a technically winning position for about 2 hours already, but it wasn’t that trivial to convert it. Between my trips upstairs- to check her game, contemplating the idea of putting my high heels on and desperately trying to force the shi**y engine on my phone show if my opening idea was good or not- I was lucky enough not to get involved in any other social interactions… Finally, it was a relief when I saw my roommate approaching with a smile, as that meant she won and was in a good enough mood not to try bailing on the party (it required quite an effort to convince her join me). Meanwhile, I decided I didn’t ‘deserve’ to put on my fancy high heels, after all, the brain should know I wasn’t happy with its performance and what better way of doing that than make the looks suffer, right? Perfect logic!

We headed off to dinner, it was just about to begin. The atmosphere was nice- round tables with beautiful arrangements, some cool music playing in the background, nicely dressed Woman Grand Masters, who wouldn’t have any problem passing as models… I suddenly started to regret that high heels decision… The feeling didn’t last for too long though, as I saw some friends making us signs to join their table, which we happily did.

The waiters started to move around us offering wine and bringing the appetizers. Continuing that day’s ‘wise’ series of decisions, I saw myself taking a sip of dry red wine… The thing about this kind of dinners is that you can never know how many glasses you had, as they are constantly filled, without you even noticing… By the time the main dish came, I was already deep buried in my thoughts, completely ignoring everything which was happening around. “Hey, what’s wrong? You’re not hungry?”, my roommate tried to bring me back to reality. “Emm… No, I’m just eating, slowly…”, I said looking around. Another ‘wise choice’. I saw my opponent happily laughing at the nearby table showing his friends something on his phone. Of course, my brain assumed the worse “He’s showing them how he won today…”, and I fell into the thinking about the game abys again…

“Irina, do you want to play in the first game of the ‘Battle of Sexes’?”, the captain of the Women’s Team asked me. She was sitting right next to me at our table. “Well…”, and I had again that twitch and lagged with my answer... “I am a bit underwater, start without me and I’ll join the next game”. Being an experienced lady and a strong player, she said: “Come on, don’t think too much of your game and let’s have some fun, it will distract you!”. “Sorry, I don’t feel like it…”. Apparently, I was on an unconscious mission to completely sabotage that day…

The “Battle of Sexes” started. Everyone was following it with interest except me… The unfortunate neighborhood with my opponent was not letting me think of anything but the game I lost. “Irina, let’s go to our hotel, you’re not enjoying yourself here…”, said my roommate. It came like a saving rope which I happily grabbed. So, we left from the event which I was dreaming to participate at for years…

With the best roommate ever- IM Ekaterina Atalik
After a silent, 15 min walk down to our hotel, we were about to enter it, when I saw that the Italian restaurant on the corner was still opened. “Let’s have a last glass of wine and some dessert maybe- my treat!”, my offer was too tempting, so my roommate didn’t protest. We were the only clients. A handsome, hype waiter came to us in a cheerful mood, asking “So, how are you, ladies tonight? Want to have some drinks?”. Not looking in the menu, I said “2 glasses of Pinot Grigio please, one white and one rose”. “Excellent choice! Anything else?”. “I would also like a dessert, what do you suggest?”. “Let me bring you my favorite dessert, I am sure you will like it!”. “Ok”.

I don’t remember what we were talking about, I suppose I was trying to justify my bad mood, not knowing that it was about to… But let’s not jump ahead. Everything at its time.
The waiter came saying: “This will be the best tiramisu you’ve ever had!”.  I curiously took it- it was looking nice indeed, but how can a tiramisu surprise me? Took the first bight. “Mmmm… It is amazing! There’s some very familiar taste, but I don’t know, what is it with, banana?”, I said. I am not sure how I could still distinguish the ingredients after all the wine I had… “I was sure you’d like it! It’s a banana and Nutella tiramisu!”. It was the best dessert I ever had in my life. I finally started to relax and feel better…

Left the place in great mood. As we decided to take a bye on the next day and to go visit the monkeys, the late hour wasn’t an issue. By the time we got back to our room, it was well after midnight. I threw all my bags on the floor and started to take of my boots, when I suddenly realized that something was missing… “I think one bag is not here…”. “There’s the bag with the heels…”, “Here’s your minibar bag…”, my roommate started to go through them. “Where’s the one with the money and passport?” “It’s missing…” “But you payed at the restaurant, so you had it on you… It’s probably still there!”. We hurried back to the restaurant to only see no lights at all. It closed. “Well, the tiramisu was worth it!”, I said. “But you won’t be able to fly back home without your documents!”. “No worries, I met some Romanians at the tournament’s venue, they work there, one is that ‘wardrobe guy’, remember? I’m sure they’ll find a job for me as well…”. My roommate was shocked by my not caring at all. “Ok, let’s inform the reception, maybe they have the contact of the restaurant’s stuff”.

Back at the reception, I saw some chess players around a chess
The famous, owl bag
board analyzing something, and having some drinks. “Hey, how are you, could I join you?”, I asked. “Sure! Irina, didn’t you lose your bag? Someone from the Italian restaurant brought it, asking if anyone recognized it and I remembered noticing you had a very funny owl bag some days before… He left it at the reception!”, said one of the chess players at the table. Heading to the receptionist’s stand, I saw my roommate already holding my ‘owl bag’… “Fiuf…There are still good people in this World”, she said continuing: “Ok, let’s go to sleep, enough adventures for today!”. But I had another plans, I wanted to see what was there being analyzed on the chess board… Because I have chess in my veins and no lost game, no missed party or lost bag will ever change it! All I needed to remember that was a banana tiramisu at the right time…

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