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a lover’s prayer

One time when I was a kid of fourteen or fifteen, sitting in Ellen Wiley’s
front room I found an old pack of cards in a drawer, and I opened the pack and told her, ‘The thirteenth card will be the Ace of Spades, the death card.’

I began to deal them out one by one.
The thirteenth card was the Ace of Spades.

Ellen freaked out. In fact, I think she began
hitting me. She knew it was no trick, knew I had no skills as a cardsharp, no sleight of hand (still don’t) and she was more than a little spooked.

But for me it was the moment when I peeled that
card from the deck, number thirteen, and saw what it was, that wow feeling, knowing this was never going to happen again. I wasn’t freaked out by it, something was confirmed to me.

Not that I was special or had magic powers or anything, the opposite really, just that certain knowledge that life is neutral, that the gods are fickle, and that Ellen Wiley could punch really hard when she was scared.

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