Monday, August 14, 2006

The Magician’s Shoes

The magician had six toes on his left foot. He had four on his right. He often thought that if he had been a better magician—one who had something more than a store bought wand perhaps—he would be able to even things out more. But he was not that better magician. The bouquets of flowers he made from yesterdays newspapers always wilted and sometimes the colors ran. On a good day, it was true, he could make wine from water but even on a good day it was never good wine. Sometimes it was vinegar.

If the magician walked alone across an open field his path inevitably and imperceptibly arched to the right. This is worth noting, not only due to the disparity of his feet and its effect on his locomotion and guidance, but because the magician was a man prone to walking alone across open fields. He liked to walk and think. He liked to smell the dampness of the earth and the vaguely sharp but pleasant rotting of things around him. Leaves, fallen trees, perhaps a few aged doves that had fallen from the sky or from his coat sleeve unnoticed.

When the magician walked alone across open fields, all his breath came in sighs. He had, this year as in all years before, unreasonable expectations for the spring. Could it not bring love or success or at least hope of either? He was scheduled for a birthday party the week before spring and for a bar mitzvah the first day of spring and as he sloshed through the mud and flattened grass of the field, he thought that maybe there was some significance to this. Everywhere around him there were symbols and clues and evidence of fate and the future. Or if there weren’t, there should be. In a better world there would be.

It was not spring yet. Strips of off-color snow lay across the earth like blank spots in the universe. Like the world was an unfinished painting. The snow was melting. The sky was gray. A flock of birds flew by in away that struck the magician as apocalyptic.


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