chapter 10 of their eyes were watching God
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After her first two failed marriages, Janie meets Tea Cake, a “tall man” with a “sly grin” who comes into Janie’s convenient store to buy some cigarettes. Tea Cake notices that Janie looks bored, so he asks her if she wants to play checkers and then offers to teach her when she says she doesn’t know how to play. This gesture shows that Tea Cake thinks of Janie as an equal, instead of someone to take advantage of, Janie is surprised and excited by this and thinks that Tea Cake “could be a bee to a blossom- a pear tree blooming in the spring”.
Tea Cake does a lot of small things to get Janie's attention before she ever finds out his name. The gentleman says that he would love to play Janie at checkers to pass the time. Janie is "glowing on the inside" because nobody has ever asked her to play before. Janie notices how handsome the man is.
They play for a while and soon the man takes her king piece; Janie refuses to give up the piece. They mock fight for a bit and in the commotion they tip the game over and laugh. The gentleman comments that "you just can't beat a woman, they won't stand for it." The man says, too, that Janie could become a great checkers player some day; "she has the brains for it."