Monday, March 2, 2009

The King and The Pawn

“At the end of the game, the King and the Pawn always go back in the same box.” ~Author unknown

I rarely run into people who shamelessly flaunt their status. Yesterday was one of those rare occasions. I had gone to the grocery store and ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in quite a while. She introduced me to her new boyfriend, and we decided to go have a cup of coffee after shopping, just to catch up a little.

We had barely sat down, when the boyfriend – we will call him Alan – expressed his disbelief that someone coming from Italy would not be wearing clothes from an Italian designer. After all, he said, Italy is one of the fashion capitals of the world, and he thought all Italians only wore Armani and Gucci.

I took a sip of my coffee as I studied him for a minute – now that he had directed my attention to his lack of depth, I noticed that what he wore was probably worth half my wardrobe.

Since I wasn’t about to justify the fact that I don’t dress up for a trip at the grocery store on a rainy day, I simply responded that I have better things to do with my money than spend hundred of dollars in something I consider useless. To which he replied: “What could be more important than your own image?”

He spent the rest of the time bragging about all his bikes, cars and boat, which he only uses once a year but couldn’t imagine not having. He was so eager to tell me about all his possessions that I began to wonder what was missing in his life.

When he left to go use the restroom, my friend apologized for his behavior, and informed me that his family had always written him off as the black sheep. Since his father often told him he would not amount to anything in life, Alan had consciously strived to prove him wrong. Subconsciously, he had tried to get his father to love him.

Suddenly, I felt a wave of compassion for him – a wounded little boy who had grown to believe he could be accepted only if he had the nicest toys.

By the time he came back, I had almost finished my coffee, and had to get home. I exchanged phone numbers with my friend and I said my goodbyes. Before leaving I hugged them both, and said a small blessing for the boyfriend. I wished for him to see that his belongings could not bring him the love he sought, and that no matter how high he got on the ladder of life, he could not take his material achievements with him when he will leave this world.

I watched him as I walked away - A desperate man glowing in his illusion of wealth; a Pawn in King’s attire who hoped to win the game.

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