“Can I ask you a question, sir?”
“Sure.” He responds in a blunt tone, pouring himself a glass of red wine before sitting back in his comforter.
“Have you ever played chess?” She speaks in a smooth tone. Her voice: sweeter than honey and softer than the finest of silk sheets.
“Yes.” The man had never played the game, but was aware of the rules of the game. The various pieces that are scattered across the board: knights, bishops, rooks and pawns. Each playing its specific part.
“What is the most powerful piece in the game of chess?”
The man smirks and quickly responds to her question in seconds. “That’s simple, the king.” Unaware that the question wasn’t as simple as he thought.
“Really?” The woman responds in a sarcastic tone.
“Why wouldn’t it be? The king is the start and end of the game.” He stares at her, questioning her judgment, unaware that his converser knew more than him when it came to the game of chess.
“You are correct, the king is the end of the game. But tell me if you had two kings left on a board. Which one would win the game?”
The man was about to respond but she quickly answered for him before the words came spewing out of his mouth.
“Neither, sir. The two kings would dance around each other and the game would never end. A dance of kings: each trying to evade each other, but neither one being able to claim the other.”
The man sits back in his chair and stares at the contents of his drink. His wine: bitter to the taste and sorrow as the grapes the juices were squeezed from. He takes a drink, while his converser continues their conversation.
“Tell me if the king is the most powerful piece then why can’t it move freely?”
“Because it would be a quicker end to the game and no one likes the game to end quickly.” He responds, taking another sip from his cup.
“No. It’s because the king has nothing without his pieces. The pieces move for him.”
The man stares at her and raises his chin. He doesn’t understand what she is professing. Sure the pieces played a part in the game. Each piece had its own role. Each piece is different from the other. The bishops can’t play the role of the knights and the rooks can’t play the role of the pawns. The queen surely could move around the board, but she wasn’t the reason the game came to the end. So sure the pieces played their parts, but only when the king falls does the game truly end.
She smirked at him and a cold smile drew across her face, because she is outsmarting him and he doesn’t even know it. She already knew how the conversation was going to end before he even knew the answer to the next question. “Everyone thinks that the king is the most powerful player. But in reality, it is the pieces that make him powerful. The queen can move freely throughout the board. The bishops can crossover and the rooks can move down and across. Without the pieces the king has nothing. No one to protect him and no one to save him.”
“But the game still ends with the king.” He responded, not enjoying the curtness in her voice. He hated to see himself outsmarted. But there he sat, drinking his wine and being outsmarted by a girl he only knew based on relations with his friends. He hated that this girl was playing him like a musician plays his guitar. She is strumming his strings.
“It does. But only in the game of chess. If you were to take the king and place him in a game such as Monopoly or Uno for example. The king holds no power.”
“What is your point?” He snarls at her. His nose turns upright revealing his disgust. He felt as if his intelligence was being mocked and he hated being mocked.
The girl saw his angry look. She raised her chin and grinned. She had no intentions of mocking his intelligence but she did enjoy seeing him so frustrated. Frustrated at a woman who clearly knew more than him.
“Power is an illusion. The king’s power is an illusion.”
“Power is not an illusion.” He responds, his voice becoming more spiteful by the minute. He hated his girl. He respected her intelligence, but he hated that she possessed such knowledge. But knowledge is power and those who possess knowledge are more powerful than they lead others to believe.
“But it is. The Queen of England has no real power, but her people give it to her. Money has no power, other than the power it is given. The king on the chessboard only has the power that it is given. So you see power is what we give it and without it there is none.”
“Then what of knowledge? I’m sure an intelligent girl like yourself, understands that there is knowledge in power.” His voice calm and he glares at her. Awaiting her response. Curious how she would answer the question.
“There is. But only the knowledge that is given to us makes us powerful. Just like the power we give to the people over us. The more knowledge people think you possess the more willing they are to give you power. But take that knowledge away and power is once again the illusion it is made out to be.” She smirks. Amused with her response, she walks over to her room and closes the door behind her. She was done for the night. She won and that was all that mattered to her at that moment. She won the conversation and his respect.
The man stood in his position swirling the wine glass in his hand before drinking the remaining red drops. He hated her. He respected her, but he hated her. She was smart, smarter than she led others to believe. The man even questioned her own intelligence before he realized how wrong he was. She knew more than she led on. Why she chose to hide her intelligence beforehand, he had no idea. But either way the girl - the woman - knows more than he.