Chapter 25: Warmth (Part II)
“Baby, what are you think about?” Daddy put the thermos in his hand down and looked at me.
“Nothing, I’m not thinking of anything!” I denied because I knew the pain from the events of that day still plagued daddy. Perhaps they would never disappear.
“Your quickly-darting eyes tell me that you haven’t spoken the truth.” Daddy lightly pinched my face.
“Alright, I’ll tell you okay?” I rubbed my cheek and said with resignation. “I was thinking about what I should do so that I can eat all of daddy’s pieces.”
“You don’t need to think about that, you can’t do it yet.” Daddy smiled.
“Why, why can’t I do it yet?” I refused to quit and kept up with the questions.
“There are many reasons, such as: you’re too young, your skill at Chinese chess isn’t there yet, you know nothing of strategy, etc.” Daddy came up with a ton of reasons in one breath, as if there really wasn’t the slightest chance of me beating him at the moment.
“I’m not young anymore! And I’ve been learning Chinese chess for six months now!” I completely disagreed with the last two points that daddy made.
“But you’ll always be daddy’s baby!” Daddy hugged me with both hands. True! Although I was eight now, but I would always be a child to daddy. And I’ve only played Chinese chess for half a year. According to daddy, this amount of time was nothing for chess players. I had merely just started.
“But daddy, what’s strategy?” I asked naively. It seemed like daddy was right, it would be a while before I could beat him!
“Strategy? This is a bit difficult to explain. It’s too complicated. You wouldn’t understand either.” Daddy found himself put in a spot.
“Then explain it in an easier way so that I can understand!” I insisted.
“The easy way to explain it is that someone already made plans in advance to achieve some goal, or some sort of means.” Daddy had to explain.
“Just like how I need to wear a pair of gloves when I pick roses?” I asked seriously.
“Wearing gloves is a means to an end. When playing chess, both sides will set some plans in motion and try their best to take the other side’s pieces in order to win. Of course, the most important thing is to take the other person’s general. This way, you win. It’s just like fighting a war – you win if you take out all of the other side’s soldiers. But if possible, kill the other side’s general first. This way, the other army will fall into disarray and you will win. You may even win faster.” Daddy taught me patiently.
“Then daddy, how should I set up my plans so that I can take your general?” I asked directly.
“Hahaha!” Daddy laughed loudly.
“Daddy stop laughing, tell me?” I pouted.
“What’s so funny?” Mommy walked into the room at this moment.
“Baby is too cute!” Daddy continued to chuckle.
“It took you this long to discover that!” Mommy walked up and reached out her hands for a hug.
“Come, baby let’s go take a bath and have dinner downstairs afterwards.” Mommy said as she brought me to the bathroom. The tub had already been filled with water. Mommy took my clothes off for me and placed me in the water. The water was warm and comfortable.
“Dear, I’m going to serve the rice first, I’ll wait for you!” Daddy shouted outside the bathroom door.
“Okay!” Mommy replied as she washed me.
“Mommy, do you know how to set up a plan so that I can take daddy’s general?” I asked as I played with the water.
“Oh? Still thinking about chess?” Mommy smiled.
“Yes, I’ve got to win. Daddy says there is no way I can beat him now.” I pouted with my small mouth.
“Is that so? Daddy thinks so little of our baby!” Mommy was ever so gentle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her lose her temper in my memories. She has always had that tender face and that tender tone.
“Mommy, don’t be so perfunctory!” To think such a profound word existed in my small mind.
“Baby even knows perfunctory! So smart!” Mommy often complimented me in such a gentle way.
“Okay, we’re done. Come on out, take the towel off and put your clothes on. Let’s go downstairs before daddy falls asleep.” Mommy said as she wiped me dry and helped me into my clothes.
Mommy was right, daddy had already served the food when we went downstairs. The plates were laid out nicely on the table, and he was nearly falling asleep on the couch nearby. I thought it was a prime opportunity and motioned for mommy to not make a sound. I crept soundlessly next to daddy, intending to scare him.
“Ah!!!” But just as I was about to scare him, he suddenly opened his eyes and pulled me into a hug, frightening a scream out of me instead.
“It’ll be a long time before baby can scare daddy!” Daddy smiled and didn’t let go.
“I hate it when daddy says that.” I complained when I calmed down.
“Alright, stop playing, there is homework to be done after dinner!” Mommy stopped our play. I hadn’t attended a day of school since that day, but mommy and daddy didn’t want me to give up on my schoolwork. They decided to establish a classroom at home. After all,daddy was a teacher to begin with, and he was placed in charge of my education.
“Alright, let’s eat first.” Daddy said as he let go of me.
“Yes, teacher!” I called daddy that sometimes since he was my chess opponent and my teacher! At the end of the day, this was a small comedy that occurred before we had dinner. This was the case everyday and we never got tired of it.