I just finished reading I Am Malala and the only thing I can remember is that she likes playing Connect Four.
I am a huge fan of Connect Four. I win most the time, and I am eager to challenge Malala to a game one day. She’ll look at me with a mischievous smile and say, “check mate,” but she won’t notice that I actually have the winning move, so I’ll say, “The sun is setting,” as I connect my fourth token.
She’ll look up at me and ask why I said that, and I’ll explain that the token falling into place sort of looks like a setting sun.
She’ll tell me “that’s not funny” and I’ll say “I never said it was. Now let me enjoy my victory.”
She’s a good sport so we’ll clean up together and grab some lunch downtown.
As I imagined this scenario, I started to question my reading comprehension skills. I had just finished an incredible book about Malala’s journey in Swat Valley and how she overcame intense oppression and bullets from the Taliban. And all I could think about was Connect Four.
I thought really hard and tried to remember what else had happened in this amazing book. Again, I started thinking about Connect Four, but I caught myself, and patted myself on the back for being so self-aware.
I thought about Malala in the hospital and remembered how she asked for fried chicken. What kind of dipping sauce did she use I thought aloud. My roommate who heard me, said “what?” but was clearly busy with something else and didn’t want to hear my answer. I went to my room, still thinking about the sauce.
Eventually I remembered other parts of the book, but I realize that the things that tend to stay in my head the longest are often the tiny details. I wish I could remember more meaningful details, but I just keep circling back to Connect Four. Maybe that’s the lesson I thought, this time to myself. Maybe focusing on Connect Four is the key to life. Take a deep breath, zoom out, and know that we are all humans who either have or have not played Connect Four.
©2022 Jake Schick