Sunday, July 25, 2010

Magic


As I was walking by the banks of the Seine, I saw a woman bend over as if to pick up something from the ground. Through some sleight of hand, she produced a large golden ring and lifted it from the sidewalk.
"Is this yours?" she asked a passerby, a tourist, in accented English. The man shook his head and began to walk on.
"Do you think it is gold?" she asked, handing it to him.  He looked at it casually. It was shiny and brand new.
"I don't know," he said.  "Could be." he handed it back.
"Is too big for me," she said, slipping it over her finger.  It was clearly a man's ring.
 "You can have it," she said.  "I will give it to you.  To remember your lucky day in Paris." She smiled broadly at him.  Her hair was unkempt, and one eye looked off to the side.  But she had a charming smile.
"Thank you," he said genuinely, smiling back, handling the ring.  She walked on a few steps, and then turned.
"Could you give me some money for lunch, maybe?" She asked, her cheeks flushing.
"Sure," he said, and pulled out his wallet.  He handed her a five Euro note. She looked embarrassed but said, "Maybe five more Euros?"
He bit his lower lip, hesitating for a moment, but then handed over another bill.  "Here you go," he said.
They walked on, he more slowly than she.
I knew what was happening and what was going to happen. I have read enough books to know how these things play out. It was only later, on the plane, that I realized that it was probably worth it to him, ten Euros, for a moment with a magician, and a smile, and a shiny ring.

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