Chess moves dance moves bad moves home moves – by Amanda Le Rougetel

Chess moves dance moves bad moves home moves
Nothing happens without a move
First moves last moves no move

Home moves

By age 15, five of them: from Canada to Germany, return to Canada, back to Germany, over to England, home to Canada. Mum made every move an adventure — there would be new friends, sometimes a new language, always a new beginning. Though much was lost — grand-parents, cousins, aunts and uncles always elsewhere; school systems always different; friends always left behind — more was gained — resilience blossoms when life is teacher; strong roots grow where love flourishes; family means more than blood.

By age 30, on my own, three new beginnings in three new provinces: from Alberta across to Nova Scotia up to New Brunswick, back west to Manitoba. Here now three decades plus. Roots down: strong, steady, settled. A testament to Mum’s legacy of home move as adventure and to my own of family beyond blood.

Bad moves

Age 14, shoplifting: my friends dared me. Age 19, snorting cocaine: my workmate’s boyfriend was dealing it.

Dance moves, oh yeah.

Halifax, mid-80s. The monthly women’s dance. We were slow dancing. Two women, enjoying the music, the atmosphere, each other. “You two look good together on the floor,” said a friend. “You must be good in bed, too.” Smile. Wink. Knowing. Yet that friend couldn’t possibly know the challenges, the silences, the struggles. How could she, when I didn’t yet realize it myself. Two home moves and several jobs later, I realized, I knew, I left.

Nothing happens without a move.

No move was no option for me. One of us had to make the first move, so I did. A hand-written note. A special card. An afternoon walk. Tea and conversation. My world shifted, opened up: A new beginning, a new adventure, a new language for adult emotions, talk grounded in thought and care and, yes, in love. This is what grew from that first move, which led to others — in bed, in living, in loving.

Chess moves

None ever on a flat board, though many back and forth on my path of life. Sometimes a pawn, one step and one step only forward; sometimes a knight, rounding a corner for a fresh view; but always the queen at heart, ready to move in any direction for the chance to stake my claim in the game of life.

Last move. Dead.

Not yet, not by a long shot. Though when cancer first arrived, I presumed dead would be the next move. But no. When recurrence landed after sixteen years (twenty years into our life together), I expected dead would, this time, be the next move. But no. Ten years later, while cancer lurks in shadows, dead remains unplayed.


When dead is played, the game is done. But not yet for us. Our hearts still beat. Our love yet lives. We have more moves to make.

Different moves slower moves quiet moves
Anything can happen with the right move
Comfort moves occasional moves assisted moves
For all the time we have
These are the moves we’ll play.


A retired college instructor, Amanda Le Rougetel blogs at Five Years a Writer and teaches courses through Writing as Tool for Transformation. Her focus is flash-length CNF essays, 50-word fiction, and 100-word micro-memoir. Find her on Chill Subs.

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