I can feel my hair stand up. holding this tiny rectangle in my sweaty hand. What do I do with it now? To keep it would be unthinkable. To throw it away, less so. It is funny that this stupid piece of plastic-y cardboard has stapled itself into my life.
This morning was dull. I made my bed, smoothing the comforter to the corners, drank a coffee, greeted my boyfriend with a kiss, and stepped out in cute pink flips flops for a relaxing day off in the park.
We had been out about an hour, my shorts were starting to chafe, and our hands were sticky with cotton candy, when we noticed a magician doing card tricks on a street corner. I've always loved card tricks, so I dragged my man over, and joined the throng.
He had on tight purple and black striped pants, old fashioned buckle shoes, and a jacket with an outrageously boring flower. He had a mustache that had seen better day, but well manicured nails. I suppose he caught me blushing with excitement because he pulled me into the center and announced I would be his "Lah-verly Asseesstahnt." (rolled his head and his tongue, hanging out,in a strange pivot as he spoke) I was delighted.
He instructed me to remain patient as he ran to his velvet- lined trunk to grab his special cards, so I stood awkwardly, trying to decide what to do with my hands while the crowd stared at me. Soon, he had returned, brandishing a deck of ordinary cards, well worn, however.
With the same tongue and head roll that made me begin to wonder if he was deranged, he instructed me to pick a card, any card, and replace it in the deck without showing me. I pulled out the seven of clubs, vaguely saying it to myself a few times before replacing it smoothly inside the deck. while I was thus engaged he roamed the crowd, making fashion commentary that seemed completely arbitrary.
When he returned, I handed him the deck, again reminding myself of the card. He seized it from my grasp with both hands, then, scarcely looking, pulled one out and yelled, "Is THIS your card?"
I looked at it and, after reassuring myself, told him it was not. He turned it to his face in surprise, that I had assumed was theatrical.
The crowd giggled as he straightened his arms in his sleeves, and tried again. His hand shook slightly as he waved it over the deck, muttering vague words. The crowd ooh-ed like obedient children and he whipped put a card, "Is THIS your card?"
Again I shook my head, and the crowd drew in, smelling suspense.
The magician grinned and wrapped both hands around the deck, then began to squeeze. His grin became a clenched tooth-ed grimace as his knuckles whitened and his fingers went blue. I backed up, unsure, and the crowd began to mutter nervously, no one seemed sure what to do.
I became aware of my boyfriend moving up behind me at t the same moment the magician first cut himself. A thin eddy of blood ran from his finger to the ground, and people began to move, some in to stop him, some away, disturbed. Two big men pulled at his elbows, trying to stop him as more and more blood appeared, but his face and arms remained unmoving. His eyes had not left mine.
Suddenly, he released and, pulling out one final card, "Is THIS your card?"
I thought about lying, but I hesitated, and in that moment he read it in my face,
"Oh. Oh well."
and moved to clean up his stage props.
My boyfriend put his hand on my arm and we walked away.
The day was obviously over, but we tried not to talk about it as we said goodbye. I unpacked my stuff, a few interesting market finds, and shuffled around the kitchen, craving coffee.
In the cupboard, in the sugar bowl, is the seven of clubs.