Under the curtains' powdery net, an evening's lit pavements are greased with rain. But they barely impinge on this balancing of forces. The drinks stand long finished: already for the chess-players it's getting late. The clicking clock shows no time for thinking across the board, no time to rely on your luck, or postpone any longer that much-debated move.
In what appears a drawn position, though either could as easily win, the possible lines proliferate; and there's no choice now but to narrow them down to some determination, a minimal room for manoeuvre where diagonal, rank and file, all contain a future threat. The isolated pawns and last pieces might as well stand in for any life crisis, any you care to mention, until the flag's fall (whether White or Black lose) allows a murky grey back in.