I wasn't expecting much. He was just one of the many acts I'd seen on the street a million times before.
"Sometimes," he said, taking a flower pedal from his bag and showing it to the few people gathered around him, "you win, and sometimes you lose." He held the pedal towards the sky and the sun shown through it, lighting up the veins and changing the color.
We each stared at it, inspecting the small part of nature to make sure that it was really just a pedal--nothing more, nothing less.
Noting our acceptance, he continued, "Sometimes you trick." Holding his palm out flat, the pedal laid still in his hand, until he closed his fist. Each of us thought the pedal was going to disappear, but instead, he opened his hand and a flower grew from the pedal, right before our eyes. "And sometimes you get tricked."
Looking around the crowd, he bent down next to a little girl and handed her the fully bloomed flower; an Orange Mock.
"Voila!" he said, as she took it from his hand.
Her eyes were the widest in the audience and it was hard for me to look away. I was just as surprised as she.
Small claps started to sound, but not many. Everyone was trying to figure out the trick, but couldn't. We didn't know whether to clap because he was so clever, or walk away and think he had some sort of fake flower pedal that he's bought at a shop.
"Thank you ladies and gentlemen!" he said, taking a small bow. "You've been a wonderful audience!"
And then, he left, taking his bag with him, and patting the child on the head.
The crowd dispersed, but I stared after him until he turned the corner on the busy street and was out of sight.
I came back to the same spot on that same street the next day, and the next, and the next. But he never showed up like I thought he would. And why would he? Why would any street performer come back to the same corner, without testing out other ones first?
I thought about him a lot. Constantly, really. But, no matter how many times I showed up, hoping to find him shocking another crowd, I was disappointed. Until one day, I wasn't.
It was almost a month after the day of the flower pedal that he returned. And for once, I wasn't even looking for him. I was simply on the way home, like I was the first time. He was standing in the same spot as before, when I came around the corner. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared. a different crowd had gathered around him, but I stayed back, missing his new trick.
As he left the crowd, in the same fashion as he had earlier that month, I followed him. It was creepy of me, and thinking back, I'm embarrassed, but at the time, it felt right. Like, I was doing something any normal person, following someone they didn't know, would do.
We hadn't gotten too far, but we were away from the crowded streets, when he turned around and raised an eyebrow at me.
"May I help you?" he asked.
I was dumbfounded. "Me?" That terrific response was followed by him laughing quietly and nodding his head. "Oh..um..no, I was just.."
"Following me?" he offered.
I wanted to say that he was crazy, that i wasn't following him, but he was obviously right. I was a little stalker.
"I'm not a crazy person." I said, trying to figure out hoe to explain myself. "It's just..I was impressed with a trick of yours that I saw about a month ago."
"Oh really?" he questioned, a little surprise showing on his face. "Which one?"
"Which one what?"
"Which trick were you impressed with?"
Ah. It seemed I was falling deeper and deeper into a hole of stupidity.
"The flower trick. You made a flower out of a flower petal."
"No," he said, hiking his bag a little higher onto his shoulder. "I made a flower appear from a petal."
"I'm guessing there's a difference?" I replied.
"Yes." he said simply.
"Can you make something disappear?" I asked. Where was this going? Our conversation was mundane, to say the least, but I couldn't make myself turn around and walk away, saving myself from looking like even more of a complete idiot.
"Well, what can you do? I mean, most magicians can make things disappear." Right?
"I can make things appear."
"Well, that much I know." I sighed. He was bored with me, I could tell.
"And you were impressed?" he asked, a smirk playing across his lips.
"Yes." I answered honestly. I was very impressed, as I had told him. I'd never seen a trick like the one he had performed and I wasn't sure I'd ever see another one. It looked so real.
He thought about my answer and shook his head, going back into his own thoughts. "One day though, I will learn to make things disappear. One day."
"What things?" I questioned, since I apparently wasn't able to stop myself.
"Anything. Even me."
Strangely, I believed him. Now days, it seems like there is no limit to what magicians can do. Even years ago, they were able to saw women in half and escape from huge tanks of water. Unfortunately, some magicians have died doing things like that, or even learning to do things like that.
"What's your name?" he asked, after a few seconds of silence. I was freaking this guy out.
"Ashley. What's your name?"
"Davenport, the Great." he answered, smiling and giving a little bow.
"Yeh." I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms, hoping he would see I knew he wasn't telling me the truth. "Try again."
"You don't believe me?" he asked.
"You believed me, didn't you?" I replied. "You tell me your real name and I'll tell you mine."
"Richard." he said, giving me another smirk and waiting for me to respond.
"Your name's not Gretchen."
"Hey, my name's Gretchen, okay?" Jerk.
"Okay, okay." he laughed. "I believe you." He started to walk and away, and instead of following, I called to him.
"Yeh?" he asked, stopping to look over his shoulder.
That was a bad idea. I had no idea what I was going to say. "Uh, never mind."
"Don't worry." he yelled back, continuing to walk. "You'll see me again."