A Flat white and a Handle Bar Moustache
Her grandmother always told her not to trust a man in a bow tie. When the man with the bright blue bow tie walked into her life she was quite naturally hesitant. Even though her grandmother had not mentioned moustaches the sight of his wide handle bar creation with its carefully waxed and twisted ends only added to her reluctance. He did have a very debonair air about him though. Stood nicely trim in his properly tailored light grey, light weight suit. Very shiny leather Consul Gare lace up shoes. Socks that would put snazzy to shame. Rosy cheeks showing a perfect picture of health complimenting his wide smile that exhibited teeth clearly regularly groomed and sparkly white. As with all other things about him his dark brown hair was strand perfect. Almost black eyes giving the impression of an extraordinary depth of knowledge. A slight narrowing as he spoke suggesting the smile was continuing even though talking had stopped its formation.
He walked in through the door of her shop with a determined enthusiasm. “Good day Miss Hughes my name is Delaney Quick. I am here to introduce you to the pleasure of magic.” In all her forty years Alice Hughes had never experienced anything like it. She was taken aback. Brushed her long blond hair to one side. It had been interfering with her blue grey eyes and one side of her very pretty face. Alice was amazing. Had the looks of a thirty year old. A very nice height. About five feet eight. Very shapely figure. It was a mystery why she is still single.
“I am sorry. What did you say?”
“Magic madam. Magic. I am here to introduce you to magic.”
“That’s what I thought you said. And why do you think I want to know about magic?”
“Everyone should know about magic. It provides a reason for allowing the unexplained to be explained.”
“Is this real magic?”
“What is real magic? If the unexplained is explained by reference to magic does it matter if it is real or an illusion? The reason has been provided. The conundrum has been solved.”
“But there is no magic. No real magic.”
“A statement that might or might not be true. Magic is present. People make it so.”
“I don’t understand. Surely there is either magic or there is not.”
“Magic is a powerful force. It is driven by belief. The more a person believes the more powerful it becomes.”
“Are you suggesting that there is magic? That proper magic exists.”
“When magic is powerful it could be because many people believe there is magic.”
“Does that mean magic is real though.”
“When enough people believe, magic is extremely powerful and can become dangerous. Long ago people believed and people died. Executed by others who were frightened by its power. That power long ago waned because people stopped believing.”
“I’ve seen magic tricks on stage. That was not real.”
“That’s because that is not magic. It is merely using the name magic to describe an act. An act that is meant to deceive. In a good way. By doing tricks. But just entertainment. A bit of theatre.”
“I don’t know that I believe in magic. I don’t know what it is.”
“It is whatever you want. Believing helps solve the parts of life that are illusive. The issue is not is it real or is it not real. It is belief. That is the key.”
“How do I believe if I am not sure what it is?”
“Be strong. Be confident. Be passionate. The more of these things you are the more you will begin to believe. Build the groundwork within yourself and you will suddenly discover that magic is all around you just waiting to be used. I will leave you now I have said enough. It is up to you to discover the pleasure that believing can bring.”
Without another word Delany Quick turned swiftly round and strode out of the shop into the bright sunny day leaving Alice no chance to question further. She had no idea what had just happened but it did make her think. Maybe the kindling of the start of belief.
Alice left work at six, locked the shop and walked down the street towards the leisure centre. After work every other day or so she went to the gym. Nothing special just a comfortable routine devised by her coach to give a good all round gentle workout. Enough to keep her in trim. There were also other people but she was a reserved person who found it hard to interact. To make an impression.
After, she went to her Mums. For tea. That was because it was Thursday and she usually called to see her Mum on a Thursday.
“Hallo Alice been to the gym?”
“Yes Mum. Been to the gym and done all the usual things.”
“Did you meet anyone?”
“No Mum. Nobody. I spoke to a few people but that was all. There is one very nice looking man there though. About my age. Seen him there a bit but not spoken. Can’t bring myself to.”
“You should make the effort. He might like you.”
“I don’t know about that Mum. We’ll see.”
She leaves, goes home getting in close to eleven and straight to bed. Everything ticks over as normal for the next two days. Just the usual nothing exciting happening. She filled in Sunday morning by going to the gym doing her workout and then hanging around the coffee shop. On her own. The man was there sitting two tables away reading the paper. He suddenly looked up and saw her looking at him catching her eye. She was very nervous but steeled herself tried to lose some of the deep rooted inhibitions. Smiled. For the first time in her life she had smiled at a man. He smiled back. A wide, warm smile that went right to the ends of her toes. She was embarrassed. Got up and quickly left. He rose to follow but then sat back down. Resigned.
Alice stayed away from the gym until Thursday. She was doing her routine, concentrating, when a voice disturbed her.
“Hallo my name is Michael. I have seen you around here a lot. Saw you on Sunday in the café.”
Alice did not know what to do. She is so shy. To be approached like this totally alien. But he was obviously not going to be put off.
“I hope you don’t mind me talking to you like this but I have been wanting to meet you for some time.” Alice had to really steel herself. Dig deep. Her first inclination was to leave. It was what she always did. But not this time.
“Alice my name is Alice.” Her voice was shaking she was that nervous.
“Well Alice fancy a cup of coffee. Same tables this time though.”
“Ok. Let me change and I will meet you in the café. Fifteen minutes.”
She went to the changing rooms and sat down. Head in hands. Pulse racing. “I must leave. I can’t do this. Yes you can. Make yourself. It’s your chance. Don’t lose it.” Dressed and about fifteen minutes later she sat down next to him and ordered a decaf flat white. The ice was broken. He was nice. Within a few minutes she was chatting away telling all her life story. Talking as though they had known each other for years. She stayed an hour and then left with a date for dinner on Saturday that she was really, really looking forward to.
She went to her mother’s as usual.
“Hallo Mum. How are you?”
“Very good. You are late.”
“Met a man called Michael at the gym he’s so nice. The man I told you about. I’m so happy I cannot tell you. I am seeing him on Saturday for dinner. I know where he lives, his phone number, even his shoe size. I am just so very, very happy.”
“Oh Alice that is so wonderful. You finally managed to find that little spark of magic that makes all the difference.”
That struck a chord. Alice paused, thinking of Delaney Quick and that very strange conversation. She had discovered some inner magic. Had been able to boost her confidence, her self esteem. Had found an abundant pleasure derived solely from this magic change in her. Had started to believe in herself.
She went on the dinner date and that lead to more. It was only six months later that they got married. One year after that despite her age, nearing forty two, she gave birth to twins. A boy and a girl. Her whole life in the space of two years had been transformed from a semi reclusive, lonely, shallow existence to one full of confidence, happiness, joy and bucket fulls of absolute pleasure.