The Ice of What Came Next

“I spent the battle drunk, myself. You see, that morning my orderly Vanya and I were playing chess beneath a tree. He sat just as you do now. It had been a heated game, but he had carried off a most risky gambit. I was going to have the devil to pay to find my way out of it. I can still see his gray eyes, laughing with triumph at his surprising tactic. His mouth smiled with a remark he was forming in his mind. This moment is, for me, forever frozen, trapped in the ice of what came next.”