Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ta Da!

Sometimes you meet a person and you know that your life is forever changed.

Such was the case one year ago when Leonard and I sat next to a gentleman during a flight from Salt Lake City to Portland. Tall, gangly, and in his early 40s, he was one of the friendliest people I had ever met. While discussing the things typically said when new acquaintances are acquired, he responded to my question of "What do you do for a living?" with a long pause. "I work for Boy Scouts of America, a good job. But in my spare time I work as a magician." His eyes twinkled when he spoke that word. He told us of his dream to one day quit his job and work as a magician full-time.

Leonard and I exchanged excited glances. This would not be a boring flight.

I was about to ask another question, when suddenly he flicked his wrist, and a business card came tumbling out of his sleeve. He mumbled an apology, picked it up, and handed it to me. I realized he had intended to produce it out of thin air.

For the rest of the flight he entertained us with interesting discussion about getting into the magic industry, as well as a few magic tricks performed with child-like enthusiasm. My favorite was when he turned a $1 bill into a $5 bill, exclaiming with a sly grin "be sure not to tell the IRS!"

When we finally said our goodbyes, Leonard and I were both sad to see him go. He walked away with a little hop in his step, a man passionate about his use of spare time. Leonard and I thought that was it for our encounter with the magician. However, although magicians are known for making things disappear, this one had a knack for reappearing in our lives.

Last Saturday Leonard and I awoke to my cell phone alarm at 4:30 a.m. and prepared ourselves for our 7:00 a.m. flight from Boise to Salt Lake City. It was going to be a quick weekend trip to be with the George's, as work constraints made it impossible to spend Christmas there this year. While waiting in line to board our flight, Leonard pulled on my arm excitedly. "It's him, it's him!!!" he exclaimed. I looked and saw our magician. He was dressed in a three piece suit, the hem of his pants barely below his skinny ankles, a bright vest covered in overlapping orange and red bunnies under his jacket. He sat with perfect posture, a content grin on his face. He was flanked on either side by teenage boys dressed in dark sweatshirts with uncombed hair and sour expressions, both engrossed in their respective handheld video game devices.

When I addressed him by his stage name, his already large smile increased in breadth, and he glanced quickly to either side to see if his sons had heard. They had, but they barely acknowledged our conversation. He was off to California to perform a magic show for his father's birthday. I was so happy that he was still doing magic, and impressed by his show attire. I excused myself when our boarding number was called.

Leonard and I found our way to our seats and got settled. I nuzzled against his arm while he opened the SkyMiles magazine. We looked at each other with soft, deep expressions for a brief second, the kind of look you give when you know that all is right in the world.

It was going to be a magical weekend.