Game of Life, by Anne Kadet

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From an interview with Marcel, a chess player in New York City’s Washington Square Park, published in April on CAFÉ ANNE, Kadet’s website.

This game has cost me a couple of relationships. My girlfriend said, “It’s either me or the chess pieces, Marcel.” So I looked at her, I looked at my chess pieces, I looked at her again. And the more I looked at her, the more I could see how toxic she was. The more I looked at my chess pieces, I could see lots of solitude. I said, “You know what? I’ll talk to you later.” I picked up my pieces, I left. I let a lot of frustration out on the chessboard. Because it’s like life. It’s got three parts. The opening, the middle, and the end. The opening part of your life goes from the time you were born until you’re twenty-six. In the opening part, you want to develop as much as possible. You want to go to school, start a career. Then you go from the opening to the middle. You want to work in your career maybe thirty years, get married, have kids. And then the end game is from age fifty on down. You say, “I’m not worried about nothing now. I’m coming to the park to play chess, drink some brandy, I’m going to talk to Raul or to Pedro.” That’s how chess is. That’s how life is. And let me tell you something: people make mistakes early in their life. But that doesn’t mean the game is over.

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