I’d love to have your impressions on this section of the book I started many years ago. I’m finishing it up but would love to know what you think….It’s very different than my first book! Feel free to post a comment or send me an e-mail. Thanks in advance and remember it is not edited yet!
Magician, as she was never called Sylviane when she worked, stood on the massive lawn and attempted to pull a rabbit out of a top hat for the fourteenth time this week. Ever since she had her eyebrows waxed, the rabbits felt more like rottweilers. How could it even be possible that less hair on your body would affect one’s ability to pull a hare out of a hat? It made absolutely no sense but was the only thing Magician could point to that changed. But did a thirty two year old magician with a Master’s Degree in English standing at an eight year old rich kid’s party performing optical illusions make sense?The day before she had her eyebrows waxed, rabbits appeared effortlessly. The day after it took every ounce of strength she had to pull one.
The waxing had become a necessity though. Sylviane had tried it herself and accidentally removed the middle third of her left eyebrow. There was not enough brown eyebrow pencil in the world to cover it up. So, professional waxing was no longer on the list of luxuries she couldn’t afford. It was now a necessity that she couldn’t afford.
And this was all part of the reason that Magician found herself wishing she could switch places with the rabbit and be lost in the lining of a velour top hat.
When Sylviane took her magic class, the summer she enrolled in grad school, pulling rabbits from a hat was the first lesson. Once you passed that lesson, you moved on to making someone disappear behind a curtain. The typical now you see it now you don’t routine. The first time someone tried to make Magician disappear she didn’t. Instead, each time the magician-in-training closed the curtain and mumbled the magic words of his choosing, she felt butterflies in her stomach as if the magician had sent his anxiety into her through his magic wand. Another time with an arrogant and precise magician, she felt a rush of cold air course through her veins but Sylviane was still there when the curtain opened. Each time he pulled the curtain closed, she felt the Arctic pulsing inside of her.
Things finally changed when her classmate Josh with the scruffy hair, the one who walked around looking like he was always high, with a constant smile and made you think he might actually talk to a higher spirit or worship many Gods, tried the trick. She disappeared on his first try. The purple velvet curtain closed around her and Sylviane felt a serenity probably similar to what you are supposed to feel when you are staring at river rocks or walking in a meditation garden.
When she disappeared, she knew not a soul could see her bushy eyebrows, muffin top, hair in need of a cut and her cottage cheesey thighs. More importantly, she couldn’t see herself. She was alone with her mind. When Josh chanted his chant and pulled the curtain back Sylviane was there filled with tears that were mistaken for fear. But she was sad. Sad that she came back with her imperfections that always seemed to drive all of her decisions and hang out in the forefront of her mind.
Sylviane lost track of the first person who had a hand in helping her feel completely at ease with herself. She thought she might find him at a Lalapalooza concert performing in the parking lot. He definitely wasn’t destined to become a showy magician who performed in Vegas and the birthday parties and Mexican restaurants that were part of her repertoire would definitely not be his thing either. He was a quieter gentle magician who preferred flip flops and worn t-shirts to black capes and button down shirts.
If Sylviane ever found him she would be able to tell him about the 8 year old daughter they shared. The daughter they created behind the velvet curtain the second time he made her disappear when the serenity was such that Magician once again didn’t care about her imperfections. She just cared that this guy, this guy who looked like he didn’t have a care in the world was paying attention to her. They didn’t exchange many words other than Josh telling Sylviane he had wanted to do this from the moment he saw her on the first day of class as soon as he heard her name and knew that this girl had been named after a French forest. To Sylviane there was nothing more romantic than someone knowing the meaning of her odd name. He said all the right words and she thought she had found her prince behind the purple velvet curtain. What a great story they would be able to tell about our first kiss, she thought. But, she never saw him again.
She waited for him on the stage the next day. And the next. And the next. She waited for him when they called his name at the certificate ceremony but he never showed up. She watched for him all over town. She memorized the way she remembered his touch, his hair and his fingers. She could still smell the detergent on his freshly washed shirt. And she could hear his melodious sing song voice trapped behind the curtain.
Nine months later, she gave birth to a beautiful daughter who had a penchant for purple. Sylviane’s mom and dad welcomed Rosie into the world. They welcomed Rosie and made Sylviane, the up-until-now perfect daughter, feel like everything would be fine. Sylviane had 24 years of good behavior behind her that let them know this was an anomaly. Granted it was a costly, life changing anomaly but nonetheless, an anomaly that brought Rosie into their world.
The eight year old daughter who brought love and hope to their world but who missed out on a lot. The daughter who would love to be at this extravagant birthday party but wasn’t included in all of the events by the summer crowd. She was a local and summer people did not socialize with locals. When the kids had their choice, at the beach, they always included her but when the moms had their choice, for parties, they never included Rosie. Rosie was like the summer residents little pet. The kids ohhed and ahhed over her. She was a rare specimen that actually lived in their summer haven all year long. The moms never invited Sylviane to “play” anything with them. She earned the spot of working for them. They sat on their beach chairs facing the water in a half moon pretending to watch their kids but instead catching up on the who’s who of the summer world.
But back to the task at hand…. finding the rabbit in the top hat.
Maybe it wasn’t Magician’s eyebrows that were making it difficult to pull the rabbit out of the hat. She wasn’t exactly comfortable at this party. The house was enormous. The kind of house and family that was created for reasons other than love. It was just a group of people brought together by circumstances, standards and expectations. Circumstances that in this situation included a gold digger forgetting to take her pill when she met a hot new Wall Street executive at the seaport one night. Nine months later, the random pairing got larger. Eight years later, the gold digger was throwing a party for their offspring at their ginormous summer home on the coast of Maine.
Mary Clare met Sylviane years ago when their children were taking swim lessons at the local pool. Five years later they were acquaintances at best and right now employee/employer. As soon as Magician walked into the sprawling estate, Mary Clare let her know what role she had been cast as today by asking her if her pants were navy or black.
Bouquets of balloons bobbed in the summer air. The sky behaved and was the brightest blue possible even providing only a few white puffy clouds placed sporadically through the blue. The sky, like everything else on that day, did what it was supposed to do. About thirty round circular tables were scattered around the yard covered with white tablecloths, crystal, china, and silver. Each table had a small aquarium in the center. Fish swam around watching the brightly colored blobs bounce across the sky. Cotton candy and popcorn stands dotted the yard. The word yard did not seem like the appropriate word for this massive field of grass. The sign on the cotton candy said organic and all natural. Magician didn’t know that was even possible and hadn’t met many eight year olds that even cared whether the cotton candy was organic or not.
Every corner of the yard was occupied by a different attraction. The party desperately needed a dose of ritalin. Mary Clare took every idea she had ever seen or heard of and decided that in order to have the most fantastic party she would incorporate all of them. One corner had a pony, another had an inflatable jumpy, a man dressed up as a pirate sat making personalized treasure maps, a clown painted faces, and of course Magician pulled rabbits out of hats.
Magician noticed the pirate in the corner quickly sketching something on a piece of paper that looked like parchment. His feather pen that moved quickly and he threw out a few “arrhhs” every once and awhile through his black fuzzy beard. He wasn’t having any difficulties with his task at Mary Clare’s extravaganza.