November 25, 2015

The last illusion

I have witnessed this scene unfolding, maybe in a dream. 

I am seated in the front row of a crowded auditorium, wearing a warm pink pinafore, a ruddy tote slung over my right shoulder. I couldn't be more than fourteen or fifteen, my face has that flushed look most anxious teenagers have. I have fuchsia ribbons in my hair, and am wearing shoes to match. Even the spectacles that I keep adjusting over my nose time and again are tinted rose. I must be having a really bizarre fashion sense to dress up like that (but maybe that can be forgiven because I am dreaming.) The crowd is buzzing with the excitement one would normally see at a circus. But there are no animals around. The tent is illuminated with fairy lights, and clouds of glitter rise from the ground adding to the charm of the place.

"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience. The show is about to commence," a woman on the stage announces. She is beautiful with flawless skin and an hour glass figure.
The show she is referring to is the magic show by renowned conjurer and illusionist, Efil Llasuskcuf. I know because I am a huge fan of his, just like all the other enthusiastic spectators in the audience.

I stare in awe at the shimmering tent, the glittering lights, the busy back stage, it all looks surreal---a scene from those picture books I loved as a child. It only makes me more eager to know what is in store. I take off my glasses for a while, the pressure has caused the skin on the bridge of my nose to pit. As I rub the depressed area with my fingers, I notice that the tent doesn't seem as attractive any more. It now seems to be made of dirty tarpaulin. The enthusiastic announcer is now retreating back stage with a scowl on his face. All of a sudden, she is looking rather overweight, not that beautiful at all. Perhaps her scowl put things in perspective, I think to myself. I adjust the ribbons in my hair. There are sullen adults all around me complaining of the dust. I see what they are saying. It is rather dusty, this place. Perhaps the dim lights did not allow me to notice the grime settled on the seats. I try to distract myself from worrying about my lovely dress getting dirty. Trying to catch the attention of the people around always helps. I check out the faces in the crowd. They too have come to watch the show, I guess. None of them look too pleased though. I try smiling at the plump woman sitting besides me.

"Nice day, isn't it?" I say, trying to start a conversation.

She nods but says nothing. I become a little conscious. I fidget with the glasses in my hands. She now looks at me, rather wistfully.

"I used to wear those," she says, a ghost of a smile emerging on her face. Then regaining her sombre expression, she continues, "a long time ago."

Clutching my glasses a little more tight, I decide not to talk to her any more. She seems disinterested. No one except me seems to be willing to share a smile. I am the only one eager to strike a conversation. The reluctance in her attitude disappoints me a little. I put on my glasses, and wait for the show to start. A little later, when I glance in her direction, I see her give me a big broad smile. I wave back.

Efil Llasuskcuf is greeted with a loud round of applause. He takes his position on the podium, and gets ready for his performance. I wonder if he requires any rehearsals at all. After all he must have performed a million times. People say his magic never gets rusty and that he never goes wrong. Each of his shows has a surprise element---he never announces his tricks before hand, I've heard. The anticipation of this much awaited feat makes adrenaline rush through my veins. I wonder what wondrous trick he is going to perform.

"Today, Mr Efil is going to treat you all to a special act. He has been bored of performing the usual rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick, and has decided to retire from the world of magic. Before leaving, he wants you to witness his last feat, a special magic before his final bow,"

There were mixed reactions from the audience. People were both happy and sad, happy because they were going to witness a never-before event in the history of magic, and sad because this was the last time they would be seeing Mr Efil perform. I adjust the spectacles on my nose. They help me see only the bright side---I feel lucky to be a part of this magnificent event.
Strangely, I cannot seem to ignore the gleam in his eyes. It seems a little diabolical, but I wave it off as my imagination.

E.L speaks, "What is about to unfurl is something much much bigger than my usual card tricks and vanishing illusions. It is going to affect one of you in a colossal way. It will expose your weakness, yet magnify your strength. It is going to bring about a permanent change. It will reveal ugly truths, but will also uncover beautiful lives."

Then looking around in the audience, he asks, "Volunteers anyone?"
I feel his gaze fall on me.

Before I can even respond, I feel my feet comply. They trot towards the podium. Something in my heart tells me that I am to be a part of this final act.

Hocus-pocus, Abracadabra, and POOF!!! 
A cloud of dust springs up from nowhere. There is something in my eye. I have to take off those rose tinted glasses to see clearly. 
CRUNCH! I hear a sound. I open my eyes only to see Efil Llasuskcuf crushing my glasses under his feet. He stomps on them until they turn to tiny sparkling pieces of pink dust. I see the dust and grime settling everywhere. He smiles at me. I know I am supposed to feel angry. How am I supposed to view the world without my rose tinted glasses? 

But to my surprise, I no longer care... 
I am not just a part of the final act. I am the final act.

Yes, I have witnessed this scene unfolding, maybe in a dream. 

Writer's note: Take a special moment, and read the name of the illusionist backwards. It would help splash a little more light on the post.