“Does your life unfold like a map? You can’t see it while you’re in it. A gnat trapped in the clockworks cannot tell you the time.”  He stares out the window at the unchanging city, the ever-changing sky.

“Too busy dodging the gears and avoiding getting crushed, I suppose. It’s your move.”

“Am I to believe you came all this way for chess? Really?”

“I don’t suppose I’d see you otherwise. You never leave this place.”

He holds up a finger. “Careful with the absolutes, boy. They are sloppy and imprecise. How many times have I told you? Never encompasses past and future both, and you will find such cases  to be exceedingly uncommon.”

“So I should never use it? Never say never?”

He shakes his head. “That is a cliché, another imprecision that also serves to reveal an unoriginal mind.”

“It’s your move.”

He picks up his black bishop. “I mean no insult, you understand. My only purpose is to instruct you.”

“As an object lesson? You sit here in this apartment. You never go out. You have no friends, no family who will speak to you.”

“Except for you.”

“Except for me. But I ask you, why would you give me advice?”

He turns his eyes again to the window. “I suppose for the same reason as most old people. To lessen the burden of conscience.”


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