The conjurer's wife

The conjurer had loved his wife, once. Deep down, some trace remained – the memory of something real and raw, now healed over, like the scar tissue around his heart.

She pushed his boiled egg in front of him, sipping her ginger tea. Always the smell of ginger: if I remember nothing else after you’re gone, he thought, then I will remember that. He cracked the shell. She read the paper.

“This evening, is it?” she said.

He nodded, scooping out the yolk and smearing it onto toast.

“The usual. Back late.”

She tutted softly. He ate, gulped his tea and left.


He went through the motions, for the sake of his audience. He unlinked locked rings, made flowers appear and one lucky volunteer disappear from his magical cabinet. All the time thinking what his life would be without her.


Returning late, he opened the door to an unusual silence. Called her name. Found her in the front room. He rushed to her, held her. She breathed once, twice. He felt something flutter inside her, then fly away, like a dove.

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