Spoils


Egypt, Luxor.

Swept the dust from the chess set heavily bargained off the man. Earlier, I had been bystander, witness, confused if this war between seller and consumer was actual or feigned pain, wondering if all this effort for manhandled pieces of stone was worth it. I’d left the game early, so i’m lucky the blue ones below were won on my behalf.

We admired it as it shone–it appeared–in the light. Time caught in the lines.

The West bank is known for its alabaster quarries, and you’ll find plenty of these in the way of souvenirs in Luxor. The powdery white is gorgeous. But i loved the colours and weight of onyx and how light seemed to almost melt it.

Fifteen minutes was all we had before the sun’s rays slipped away leaving the stone impenetrable again. We were loving these perhaps for very different reasons. But for the moment, the shared appreciation felt good to bask in.

.

At the shop:

As we left for the second time, this time with our triumphant goods, the boy came up to me holding out a rudimentary carved piece of alabaster. I refused, afraid the ‘gift’ would follow up with a hassle for baksheesh. He was very young, and worked there carving stones.

I sat as the driver started the car. Thinking it interesting how we cling to solid things. Interesting how we crave solidity of things. I certainly loved these for being so.


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