I can't remember if I've written about Ebony yet. She's new this year. She's not in my dorm and we don't share any classes, but I noticed her because she's blind--the only blind student here and, I think, the first blind student the school has had (rumor has it her tuition has been waived for the first year in payment for her having to teach the school how to accommodate a blind student). Anyway, she's also REALLY pretty. I noticed that, too.
I keep hoping she'll ask me to lead her somewhere. She'll take me by the arm, and I'll be all suave and helpful and heroic. Of course, I'm sure if she knew I was thinking that way she'd feel all insulted and everything, and anyway I'd probably walk her right into a wall by mistake or something. So, obviously I haven't talked with her much, yet. She does hang out with some of my friends, so if I can quit being Awkward McDork I can get to know her a bit.
Anyway, I've been thinking about her recently because of this thing she did the other day.
She was in my dorm hanging out after dinner and a few of us were sitting around talking--Ollie and Willa, Andy, Joanna, and me, and Ebony was curled up in the big armchair shuffling a deck of cards as she talked. She was telling this long and very funny story about the failures of the disabilities services office at her previous school. But I was thinking about those playing cards, I mean, can she really play cards? Are they Braille cards? I couldn't figure it out. I kept watching those cards to see if she got any of them backwards by mistake, but she never did.
But as I watched the deck seemed to get thinner. There were fewer and fewer cards. I couldn't tell if it was really happening. At first I wasn't sure the deck was getting thin, and then I wasn't sure it had ever been thick. And then it seemed to start growing again.
Andy spotted what she was doing before I did and cried out in surprise. Then I saw it and laughed. The thing is, she had started out with blue-backed cards and now over half the cards in her hands were red. She was switching them out.
When Ebony knew we had seen her trick, she smiled, this really sweet, spontaneous-looking smile, even though her face is usually neutral.
"Did you think I wasn't playing with a full deck?" she asked.
People do sleight-of-hand all the time around here, so we're all used to it, which is a problem--stage magic doesn't work if there's no element of surprise. The magicians here, Allen and Ollie and the others, are always trying to outdo each other or set up their tricks so we don't expect them. Ebony doesn't have that problem, because I don't think any of us thought she could even do sleight-of-hand. So, it was actually kind of a double-trick. We all willingly promised not to tell anyone until she'd played it on everyone else.
I should have known she was studying stage magic, though, because of what happened a month or two ago when she started attending Philosopher's Stone Soup.
Allen was doing his tricks, as always, and some of us were laughing, so Ebony asked what was so funny. Someone explained it to her and she laughed, too. But Allen frowned. He went to go stir the pot, bubbling away on the grill, and when he came back he seemed subdued. He sat down and didn't talk much for a while.
"Your magic show stopped," Ebony observed. Allen grimaced a little, like she'd caught him at something.
"You're very hard to perform for," he admitted. "I do magic all the time. It's what I do, I trick people. But I can't trick you. I just hadn't thought it would matter so much to have even one person in the audience just not care what I'm doing."
"What makes you think I don't care?" Ebony asked him.
Allen looked completely thunderstruck. I think it's the first time I've ever seen him be the one rendered speechless by a question. Then he smiled a little, intrigued, like he'd just seen her for the first time.
"My ignorance of you made me think you don't care," he said, finally. "Clearly I don't know you very well, yet."
Ebony is only going to be here two years, so she has to choose all her masters this year. I don't know which ones she needs, spirit and magic, probably, since most people do, plus whatever else. I guess she's working with Allen.