Shatranj

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My love, you speak about arrogance and submission as the only two possibilities, as if between yes and no, there are no other answers, as if the king in that old courtyard of Jaipur cannot dismiss the game, as if the queen can’t feel betrayed for being played at all, as if the maharajah cannot go mad with love in the middle of the game. As if the world cannot fall apart before the game is over.

Don’t you remember the time, near the Tripolia Gate, I had read to you these lines by Anne Carson: Desire doubled is love and love doubled is madness. My love, what if the queen, at the edge of the board, condemns the king to these lines for eternity? I tremble at the thought.

Yesterday, my love, I now know that you were not as far away as I’d thought, you were just behind me – you really should’ve told me – as I spent the afternoon watching a film about chess – believe me, such things cannot be made up – where in the end the entire plot is shown as a game of chess, where in the end it is revealed that there had never been a queen, the most powerful piece had always been imaginary.

I am not the queen, my love, I am not European. In a game of chess, they call me by my Arabic name: Wazïr.

 

 

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