The magic show was in a hole in the wall bar that probably should have been condemned years ago. I had found the ad scrolling through Facebook as one does when boredom overtakes you. As I walked through the door, the smell of alcohol and dirt overwhelmed my senses. Other than the two gentlemen at the bar, the place was empty and the faint noise coming from the jukebox did little to add life to the place. I decided to sit in the corner as to not draw attention to myself should I leave. A small older lady with no time to spare approached and asked for my drink order. I asked her if this was the right place for the magic show and she assured me that it would be starting soon. When my drink arrived, I slouched back against my seat ready for the usual basic magic tricks.
The lights went dark and when they returned a small, pale, man appeared on the stage. He wore what looked to be a handed down cape and hat that both needed much attention. He introduced himself. The Great Brandino. I couldn't help but grin at the originality. After a brief intro he set in to his first trick.
"Now I am going to make this coin disappear!"
As he fumbled around with a cloth, I could see that his hands were shaking. Was this his first show? The Great Brandino finally got his coin wrapped and set to making it disappear. His shaky hands flew through the air. Fortunately, the two men at the bar were either too intoxicated or too far away to see the small coin slide into Brandino's sleeve. Amazement swept over the Great Brandino as though he himself was unsure if the trick would actually work. Again, a smile crept onto my face.
I have kept a secret from the world since I was a child. For fear of banishment or worse. You see I am an actual magician. I came into my powers as a small child and my mother decided at that time to teach me to hide them. As a young boy, trying to hide the coolest thing in life was difficult. I was forced to jump from school to school when someone one accidentally discovered my secret. Once I reached my teen years, I started into pretend magic much like Brandino has done here tonight. However, I had the ability to actually make the coins disappear, make the rabbit jump from my hat, and always know which card had been drawn from my hand. Brandino it seems is still mastering these tricks.
For his next trick, Brandino was to escape a cage in which he was handcuffed. Admittedly, I was worried. As his assistant, the lady who took my drink order, came to the stage to administer the handcuffs, I found myself leaning forward in my seat with concern. Brandino entered the cage and tossed the key out of reach. The two gentlemen from the bar had found this trick to be of interest, so they made their way closer to the stage and took a seat. As Brandino started to shuffle around the small cage in an attempt to get the cuffs around to his front, I saw a small thin piece of metal fall from his pocket. I leaned further into my table, now curious to see how he intended on escaping without his lock pick. Brandino's face turned from hopeful to panicked after the first minute of shuffling. He soon discovered the lock pick laying on the floor of his cage. He fell still and I watched as the bulge of his adams apple slid down his throat. Brandino had no idea how to continue.
I knew I had to help him. Slouching back into my chair, I twisted my hand around and chanted to myself. Within seconds the lock pick was off the floor of the cage and making its way into Brandino's hand. He looked shocked. As he grabbed a hold of the lock pick, he stumbled through some words alerting the audience that he would now take off the cuffs. Brandino slid the cuffs from his hands and tossed them outside of the cage. Suddenly I realized I had not taken a breath since he entered the cage. Why do I feel this obligation to help this man? I had seen many magicians through the years, and not once did I feel the need to intervene so why with the Great Brandino did I put myself at risk. Something about him... I wanted to talk to him after the show.
The Great Brandino finished his last tricks, I made my way out of the bar and into the alley. I waited for about fifteen minutes and seriously considered just leaving. Right as I turned to leave i heard the door open. Brandino scattered out the door and mumbled his way down the alley. I went after him. A bit too aggressively because he jumped as though he was being mugged. I assured him that was not the case and began to talk about his show. Brandino was shocked that anyone even came to see his show much less stop to talk afterward. I asked him to come with me to the diner around the corner and we could talk more about the show.
We found a booth in the back of the diner, and I told him of my childhood. Not of the powers I had worked so hard to hide but of the moving and learning magic tricks and building my life. He seemed to relate to the struggle of being a kid out of place and assured me that he would continue to work on his tricks till perfection. He also told me his name was actually Brandon to which I feigned amazement. The more he spoke the more I found myself leaning in and watching his eyes light up with each story he told. I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to hold his hand, to feel his hands on my body. I tried not to show it on my face, but I think Brandon saw. He stumbled over his words then quietly offered to exchange numbers.
As I was inputting his number, he told me he appreciated my assistance in his act. I stopped in my tracks and nearly dropped my phone. My eyes slowly looked up to meet his and he just smiled. How did he know? Did the others see too? Brandon must have seen the fear on my face, he quickly restated that he had seen me shift and mutter something and that's when the lock pick came to him. He had read books of real magicians and how they can do spells but never thought he would actually meet one. I asked him to please not tell anyone, and he assured me it was our secret. We hugged our goodbyes and said we'd be in touch.
It had been two weeks since I had seen Brandon after his show, and I hadn't heard from him. What does this mean? Is he going to tell my secret? Does he think it's too weird? Days went by and i couldn't get him out of my head. Just when I had lost all hope, my phone buzzed. It was him. I jumped with excitement and tried to play it cool.
Brandon: Hey! Sorry it's taken so long to message you.
Me: Don't worry it's been a busy week. Have you been working on your show?
Brandon: Yes. I am having trouble with my new trick. Would you want to come over and help me?
My heart nearly stopped. I wanted to but would I be able to keep my thoughts at bay. What if he doesn't feel the same way?
Me: Sure! just send me your address and I'll be there!
Brandon only lived a bus ride away. As I approached his door, I tried to clear my throat of the lump that had developed since exiting the bus. I knocked. He answered.
His apartment was clean with very little extra things laying around. The only clutter was in the corner of his living room where he kept his magic tricks. As we took a seat on his couch, he told me that he didn't really have a new trick. Maybe he did feel the same way. My thoughts were filled with what ifs and imaginary scenarios where we are sipping coffee in the early morning on our front porch. Brandon told me that he had been too nervous to contact me sooner. He shared my fears of unrequited feelings. I told him that he need not worry. As we sat discussing our equal fear of rejection, I noticed his hand had slowly made its way closer to mine. He offered a movie to watch and I happily agreed. We sat watching the movie making comments as the plot unfolded. About halfway through I gathered the courage to place my arm around him. Brandon leaned against me and the warmth from his body felt like home.