The Deck of Cards | a prose

It was the Winter season, and I decided to head out to Paris simply because I felt I didn’t want to stay here in England, the king of dullness. I wanted to celebrate Christmas overseas, all by myself. I thought it would be a nice getaway from all the troubles I’m having in my career. My art shows are not selling, and I am having trouble coming up with new ideas and themes for my art. I gathered whatever savings I had and left for the airport in search of something exciting amidst the dullness of England.

“Passengers of flight seven-seven-seven departing for Paris please report to gate seven for boarding.” I eyes shot wide open, and I shot up from my sleeping position, causing a temporary blindness. I forgot where I was, which was on a bench in the middle of the airport. I hurriedly packed my jacket and headphones in my backpack and tugged my oversized luggage to the boarding gate. I was still a little drowsy, and dropped myself on my seat in the plane and quickly dozed off. “Sir, would you like anything to eat? We have chicken with mashed potatoes and spaghetti with meatballs. Which would you prefer?” a young flight attendant tapped on my shoulder lightly. She wore heavy make-up and tied her hair neatly in a bun. Her name was Sam, and she was very polite.

Not that being polite is something I should not expect, but I was just captured by her immense beauty so much that anything she did was socially acceptable. She was just unbelievable, as if two of the most beautiful stars in the entire universe came together and produced a star. She was that star, or a star in my eyes for that matter.

Are you sure you don’t have another choice, something along the lines of your love? I would really want that, please. “Chicken would be nice, thank you.” As she carried the tray across my face, instead of the smell of chicken and mashed potatoes, there was a smell of pure beauty. Thankfully her perfume was strong enough for me to smell it from my position, or I would have leaned forward to just get a sniff of that pure beauty, which would have made me look socially unacceptable. “Could I perhaps get a deck of poker cards?” “Sure, just hold on a minute.” As she walked off to grab the deck of poker cards, I exhaled loudly, realising then that I had held my breath the entire time she was beside me. “Your cards Sir,” she looked even more beautiful than before, although to me it seemed impossible to up a notch from her initial beauty. As I took the deck of cards, I felt something. It caused a wave of electricity through me, and I was taken aback. Apparently, Sam also felt the same shock, as she, too, was taken aback by that wave. She let go and walked off as if nothing happened. But I refuse to believe that. That electric shock was definitely not a coincidence and I refuse to just ignore what just happened between us. With those thoughts developing in my mind, I finished my chicken with mashed potatoes and fell back asleep.

After what seemed like years, I finally got out of the plane and stepped foot onto Paris. I have been to many places, but none as romantic as Paris. I was a man of experience, being in Italy, Brazil, Philippines and Russia. These places are the kings of pickpocketing, murder, kidnapping and mafia in the world, and I have had a fair share of being involved in these. In Italy, I was almost a victim of pickpocketing four times during my visit there, which was four days. I suppose one can say that my luck is sky high. However, I managed to physically confront every thief given my martial arts background. In Brazil, I was caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. It occurred during midday, the weather was perfect for a walk to the local market, and it was my last day there. All of a sudden, a bullet hit me in the thigh, followed by an explosion of the stall which was opposite me. Locals were screaming, and some were trying to salvage whatever they can from their stalls before it was destroyed in the massive chaos. Armed men charged into the heart of the market and started killing everyone in their path as if it was an all-you-can-eat-buffet. Amidst all the chaos, I managed to limp my way to a bus and hid behind it. From the occasional peeps, I could see locals and foreigners both falling to the ground and debris from the stalls flying everywhere. After what seemed like hours, they decided that they have done their job and left the scene swiftly. I got up and ran to the hospital, which I spent the next week in. I suffered not just one, but seven bullet wounds on my legs and torso. It was no coincidence that seven is a lucky number, thus enforcing my point of me having unbelievable luck. In the Philippines, I witnessed a kidnapping case right in front of my eyes. A British couple was suntanning on the beach just like I was, but they were the lucky ones this time around, as kidnappers surrounded them and took them to their boat offshore and, in an instant, disappeared. Turns out my luck was depleting. Lastly, in Russia, I was confronted by a mafia group for merely walking to a bar at the wrong time. It was freezing outside as it was Winter, and I quickly ran for the nearest indoor public space. Little did I know, I walked straight into a mafia gathering. The entire bar was filled with them, from the cashier to the janitor. Everybody stopped in their tracks and turned to face me. The silence was deafening. The leader of the group, I assumed, approached me with a gun pointed at my chest. He demanded a reason my interruption, but I was obviously clueless. After a discussion among the members in Russian, They decided to give me an extremely stern warning not to cross paths with them again or they would kill me and then let me out of the bar, leaving me stunned from head to toe.

Coming to Paris was a complete change of scenery, and it took me a while to get accustomed to the romance of Paris. As I took the streets of Paris, I brought along my camera, and my sketchbook. From the massive fashion boutiques to the tiny cafes, Paris is a paradise. After wandering the streets of Paris and taking a ton of photographs, I settled down in one of the local cafes, which offered al fresco dining. The weather is perfect for a sketch I thought, and proceeded to take out my sketchbook and began sketching whatever was in my line of sight. An hour and a half passed in the blink of an eye, and the sky suddenly realised that it was having a bad day and decided that everyone else would suffer with it. I packed up my things and darted towards my hotel, managing to avoid the heavy downpour which started as soon as I reached my destination.

A week passed, and it was Christmas Eve. The streets were beautifully decorated with Christmas themed lights. Shops were packed like sardines, including happy families and anxious individuals looking for a gift at the last minute. I stopped in my tracks and looked up. Jeux de l’amour, it read. I walked in the tiny shop, only to be greeted by at least a hundred noisy French people. After hours of squeezing past oversized people wearing oversized coats while trying not to knock any of the items off its shelves, I gave up and found a tight corner next to the cashier and stood there like a statue for a good two hours. Soon, the crowd disappeared and I decided to finally take a good look around the shop which I found so intriguing. It had cards of all kinds, from cartoon cards for kids to a unique deck of poker cards. I was so engrossed with the variety of the cards I did not realise that there was a blizzard and nobody could get outdoors. I looked around and realised there were seven of us in this tiny shop — the cashier, who was an old French man, two French couples who looked lovely, a young woman, probably in her twenties and absolutely stunning, and myself, an unhappy English male who happens to be a loser in finding happiness in his life. “Rough weather,” the old man commented, and let out a sigh. “Nice timing, weather,” muttered the woman. Instantly, there was a wave of electricity through me, and I turned to look at her. There she was, the woman who somehow got more beautiful with every blink. Her hair was different, this time let loose, and she was not wearing much make-up. She was the flight attendant, Sam. A second later, she, too, turned to face me. “Hi, I’m Sam, nice to meet you,” and she extended her hand. “Ryan here, and nice to meet you too.” We shook hands, and both of us felt a wave of electricity through us, something both of us are more than familiar with. “I’m sorry, but have we by any chance met before?” I stood there like a mute, unable to comprehend the situation happening right before my eyes. There was silence for a long time before she suddenly broke it with a loud scream. “Oh my gosh! we met on the plane from England to Paris, am I right or am I right?” I let a smile so huge it felt like it was covering my entire face and nodded uncontrollably. At this point, both of us felt like we were the only ones in this tiny shop. We were staring at each other, unable to look away. All of a sudden, I felt as though this was paradise, within a paradise called Paris. My entire life, I have never felt so happy, especially coming off a disappointing period of my life. After what felt like ages, the silence was broken by the sounds of coughing. The cashier and the couples were at a loss, as they had never seen anything like this before. We spent the next few hours seated on the floor finding out more about ourselves, and of course, discussing the cards sold in this shop. Suddenly, I remembered the deck of poker cards which Sam gave me on the plane, and took it out of my pocket gingerly. “Speaking of cards, who’s up for some card games? I have a deck of poker cards with me.” I waved the deck of cards in the air. “No way!” Sam certainly remembered the incident in the plane, which made her stunned. We took turns explaining the story to the cashier and couples, and they seemed genuinely surprised at it. “Wow, je ne pensais pas qu’une telle chose puisse se produire.” All of us smiled and laughed.

The seven of us spent the next few hours talking and playing card games while waiting for the blizzard to end. I didn’t want the blizzard to end, as that would’ve meant the end of this fairytale. The end of the blizzard would mean going home, and never seeing each other ever again, although it seemed as if fate would eventually have us together. However, I realised that it wasn’t fate which brought us together, but it was the deck of cards. It’s no coincidence that our flight number was seven-seven-seven, that the boarding gate was seven, that there are seven of us in this tiny shop selling cards and that the number seven is a lucky number which can be found in a deck of poker cards. Call this whatever you like, but I was having the time of my life, I was finally able to break out of my disappointing time in my life, and I was able to come up with a new idea and theme for my art, all thanks to this deck of cards.

The End.

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