I See You- Inspired by ‘Discarded Playing Cards’ by DG Jones
Today was the day Laura had decided to kill herself.
In fact, she was on her way to purchase a bottle of pills to do just that. She hadn’t previously gotten the pills because she thought it best to give herself time to decide whether she really wanted to do it or not. It wasn’t as though she hadn’t planned it through and given herself a chance to back out.
But there was going to be no backing out now. Laura gripped the strap of her satchel and mazed through the crowds on the high street. No one noticed her, she was little more than a shadow passing those who had so much to live for.
In the pharmacy, Laura put down the white bottle of aspirin and began to search through her bag for her money. The pharmacist did not enquire why she wanted so many pain killers or even warn her of the dangers it could do. Instead his wrinkled face looked tired and as though he was rather she was not there at all.
The bell above the shop door tinkled as Laura left, the only thing that seemed to let anyone know she was actually in their presence. Outside the sun had been shadowed by stormy, grey clouds though it had yet to rain. Once again Laura began her unnoticed walk through the masses of people back towards her apartment.
“Pick a card.” The voice came loudly and cheerfully but Laura ignored it. There were often street magicians on this stretch of high street. None of them ever asked for her participation. A crowd began to form around the magician, blocking Laura’s path. The throng of eager watchers pressed Laura in with them and she had no choice but to wait for the performance to end.
The street magician, a young woman with pink streaks in her hair and dressed in clashing orange clothing, was offering a deck of playing cards to an awaiting volunteer. The man picked a card from the spread out deck, took a look, showed it to the crowd and then put the two of hearts back in with the rest of the cards.
Laura fidgeted on the spot. She wanted to get home. Her satchel felt heavy on her shoulder, the sudden imagined weight of the pills and her fate pulling it down.
“Ok, now keep thinking of your card.” The woman grinned and put down the cards. She moved behind a small table on which sat a paper cup turned upside down. She lifted the cup and showed it was empty before replacing it on the table and tapping the top a few times with her red painted nails.
A gasp sounded around the gathered crowd when she lifted the cup to see the two of hearts had appeared in it. A smattering of applause began and even Laura felt a little impressed.
The magician then put down the cup, tapped it again and lifted it to reveal the card had vanished. She lifted the deck she had put down, and spread them out.
“Do you see your card in the pack?”
The volunteer scanned the cards. “No, I don’t.” A louder applause sounded this time as it seemed the magician had truly made the card disappear all together.
“Thank you!” She called as the crowd happily threw money into a top hat that was balanced on the table. As the people finally dispersed, Laura freed herself and made to move away. As she took one step the magician smashed right into her side.
People bumped into Laura all the time, as though no one ever saw her even if she was right in their path, so she was quite used to it.
“Sorry.” Laura said meekly as she bent down to retrieve her satchel that had fallen on the ground.
“My fault.” The magician beamed a smile at her and helped her gather her things. “Did you enjoy the show?” Laura nodded but the girl didn’t seem to notice as she moved back to her table.
When Laura got back home she let out a long sigh. With heavy steps she went to the kitchen and fetched a tall glass of water. She put it down on the dark wood table, normally so worried about the ring left by the moisture, but not even bothering with a coaster this time. What was the point? She wasn’t going to be around to see the stain.
Her hands were shaking slightly and she had trouble finding the bottle of pills as she reached into her bag. Finally her fingers clasped the smooth bottle and she pulled it out, the white of the plastic seeming to hurt her eyes. It took a few times before she managed to remove the safety clip and then finally it was time.
Laura took a deep, shaking breath and closed her eyes. She popped open the lid and shook the bottle into her hand. She frowned when it was not pills that fell onto her palm, but something larger and smooth. When Laura looked it was a folded card.
Quickly she opened it and caught her breath when she saw the two of hearts card led on her hand. Scrawled over the hearts in black pen was written:
I saw you.
And I hope to see you again tomorrow.
Laura let out a sob. It was tears of relief and pure joy that streamed down her cheeks as she re-read the words. She nodded her head at the card as if answering it, put it in her bag and then slipped a coaster under her glass.