He waited until he felt her leave the room, and then he opened his eyes to the new morning. So much had changed. So much was different about him and he hadn’t yet gathered the courage to share it with her. There was such a stigma about people like him… He didn’t want to risk ruining what they had until he was sure his new passion wouldn’t quickly fade away.
It felt wrong to respond in kind when she said she loved him, but he said it anyway. He wasn’t happy that he wasn’t ready to trust her with his secret, but that didn’t diminish the affection he had for her. He still loved her. He didn’t want to risk losing her over a silly hobby gone awry, but months had passed and the passion and talent had only grown stronger. At the same time the guilt over keeping the secret had expanded exponentially too. The time had come to tell her the truth and let her decide if she still loved him and would stay, or… Well, he didn’t want to think about that.
Telling her simply wouldn’t do though. Too many people went around claiming to be something they weren’t. No, he had to show her what he had learned. He had to prove his talent. Perhaps, too, he had to show himself that he had outgrown his hobby days and was ready to take it to the next level.
He hoped she would understand.
He hoped she wouldn’t judge him.
He hoped she would forgive him for keeping that part of his life secret for as long as he had.
He hoped she would stay. And, if she didn’t, he hoped he had the fortitude to carry on anyway. To continue to pursue his new love as vibrantly, as chaotically, as he had been. If he lost both, he wasn’t sure what would become of him.
She returned home at her normal time and he ushered her into the living room with hushed tones and subdued, vague, mentions of something he had to show her. She was worried, of course, because he had been acting strangely recently. He’d been more hesitant, more distant. But, she showed a brave face and followed him. Whatever it was, she was sure they could work through it together. They were a good team.
He motioned for her to sit on the couch, and she did, legs crossed, arms folded across her laps. Her face was pinched with questions and suspense. He could see her temples darkening as her jaws clenched, and knew that meant he only had a small amount of time to show her the truth before she’d begin barraging him with questions.
So, he stepped back, somewhat embarrassed, blushing in a shade that matched her temples, took a few deep breaths to calm his nerves, and then showed her everything.
She gasped. She held her breath. She flinched. She clung to the couch in nervous anticipation. She didn’t utter a word until he was done. Then, one eyebrow raised, her head slightly tilted to the right, “So…?”
He had performed better than expected. His faith in his abilities was founded and he was able to reply with complete calm, “I’m a magician.”
“I can see that,” she said as she rose to stand next to her husband. “And, what’s going on in that head of yours? What are you going to do with this talent?”
He smiled, and she returned the smile. “I’m not sure yet. I think it… I know it could take us places. I know I shouldn’t waste it. But…” his voice trailed off as he looked down to the tools of his trade: the deck of cards, the hat, the wand, the scarves, the tricks, the mirrors, the smoke.
“To make it to Vegas, I’m going to need an assistant in my act…”
They did make a great team.
This bit of silliness was written for this week’s We Drink Inspiration Short Story Prompt:
Your challenge this week is to write a character that possesses a secret, one that can harm or benefit ones they care for, depending on the circumstances the story arc takes – your job is to determine which will be the case. The only rule of this challenge is to leave no obvious hints to said secret until the end of the piece.
So…? Double twist? Did you think it was going to be magic or something more sinister? And then did you think I meant sorcery at first, rather than slight of hand and smoke and mirrors?