Occam Cobb would arrive in a week which meant Jonathan had to create and perfect his trick in that allotted timeframe. All throughout the next few days, he found himself contemplating on the trick, on what to do and how to do it. He began multitasking: pondering while working, while on breaks and even before sleeping at night. With the arrival of the magician drawing closing, Jonathan began to worry he wouldn’t be able to come up with a clever enough trick.
However, two days before the inevitable day, a new trick had donned on him. Throughout those final two days, he practiced the trick intricately, even threatening to be late on a few deliveries. He became more and more obsessed to perfect it, making sure to pay attention to all the details until at last the week at hand had arrived.
That day, Jonathan had never felt such a surge of anxiety and apprehension. He found himself stuttering a few times when talking to fellow customers, even with Mr. Garett.
“You alright, kid?” he asked later that day. “You were a little skittish today.”
For some reason, he had lost his voice at the point. He simply nodded a little. Mr. Garrett gave him a puzzled look, but gazed at the headline of one of the papers stating: “See the Great Occam Cobb Tonight!”
“Ah, you’re nervous about that Cobb fellow. It really means that much to you, doesn’t it?” he noted, giving off the first smile Jonathan had ever seen. “Tell you what, you can get off early today.”
Jonathan’s eyes lit up. “Really?”
“Yeah go on, get outta here,” Mr. Garrett replied.
With that, Jonathan took off, racing home, never stopping once until he arrived. He came across his mother who happened to be on her way out.
She was a frail looking woman with a face stained with light wrinkles, mingling of stress and exhaustion. She stood with a slight hunch, more than likely a result from preserving the posture at the sewing factory. A few strands had managed to escape her poorly sustained bun falling across her weary eyes. They widened when they recognized the boy running up to her.
“Jonathan!” she exclaimed, while he greeted her with a hug. “What are you doing home so early?”
“Mother?! You-wouldn’t-believe-it…” he said excitedly, half out of breath. Occam-Cobb-is-here-tonight-performing!”
She shook her head in complete confusion, holding up a hand to her head. “Slow down, child. Catch your breath first.”
He smiled, pausing for a second before attempting to repeat the news. “Occam Cobb, Mother! He’s here tonight performing!”
She closed her eyes rendering a soft sigh of relief before giving off a sheepish smile. “That’s wonderful, Jonathan. I thought something terrible happened.”
“No, it’s greatest thing ever!”
“Well that’s good. Why don’t you head inside? I started to warm up some soup for dinner. I’ve got to head in for my next shift,” she said, starting to leave.
“Well Mother, I was wondering… if it was maybe… possible for me to go?” he brought up.
His mother halted, giving off another long sigh. “Jonathan, we’ve talked about this before. I don’t mind when you play with your cards or tricks as long as it does not interfere with what’s important,” she said, looking him deep in his eyes. “What’s important right now is our home and the money we get to keep it. We can’t just throw what little we have on just anything, especially not just to “watch” another person. Our priority is for the things that can keep us alive. You understand that, don’t you?”
Jonathan felt his heart grow heavy. His eyes fell to the ground slowly.
He sighed, nodding. “Yes, I understand, Mother.”
“Good. One day, you will get over all this magic and you’ll look back at this moment and realize that this was the right decision,” she said, issuing a light kiss on his forehead. Afterwards, she parted ways disappearing down the street.
Jonathan felt his eyes grow watery; a few tears escaped, rolling down his cheek. He quickly rubbed them away. His appetite had diminished not caring for the meal his mother had prepared for him. Instead, he began walking down the street with his head still lowered. Along the way, he could see a man with a tall pole lighting the candles of street posts. Around him, the skittering of paws could be heard from the stray cats that ran amok. The sky grew cooler and darker, the street lights becoming his only guide in the darkness.
In the distance, he could see another set of lights brighter than the area around. Upon inspecting, he could tell it was coming from the city’s Grand Theatre where Occam Cobb would perform. He made his way towards the building, observing the crowd of people flooding slowly inward. “Witness The Great Occam Cobb” was spread in large letters across a long banner hanging in the front.
The people were all dressed lavishly with men in noteworthy suits, some with comparable top hats, even a few with canes. The women wrapped along their arms were ones to gleam as well. They glowed with gorgeous dresses, coats of the most extravagant fur, and jewelry that pirouetted at every movement in the light.
They muttered among themselves while the line traversed forward to a man at the door accepting their tickets. The people were about to witness the performance of a lifetime, he thought to himself. Unfortunately for him, he was left to simply speculate on what marvels he would be missing out on. After several more minutes, the crowds had subsided, completely contained within the wide structure. The air around had reverted back to its ensnaring stillness.