The magician came to a stop at the southwest corner of 42nd and 5th. His cape continued to swirl while he waited for it to settle into deathly stillness around his shoulders. The wind, howling up the avenue, spoiling for a fight, pushed its way through the bags and coats of the great mass of humanity in its path but it parted around the magician. His tall black hat started to shutter in the wind’s snarling wake before he corrected it. It was his hat and it would not be subjected to such interference.
“Excuse me,” begged a small voice. The magician’s eyes revolved slowly in the direction of the voice. His attention was focused elsewhere, on a place dangerous and lovely, filled with illimitable potential for joy, enlightenment, and disaster. His eyes advised the owner of the small voice (a petite woman burning with the desire to interrupt him) that should her interruption prove successful she could soon find herself joining him in that treacherous place.
“Excuse me,” she repeated.
Carefully, with both hands, the magician removed his hat to speak to a lady. His placement of it between them forced her to take a step back.Slowly and deeply he asked, “What may I do to help?”
She had intended to ask him for directions to Lexington Avenue but she forgot about that. He could see that she’d forgotten. He could also see that she was going to meet someone. Someone close – a family member or lover. Someone she didn’t particularly like but someone she felt bound to in some way.
The magician reached into his hat and produced a small, furry animal.