25.8.06

The Six of Spades

I went out the other day and left all the windows open, to air the flat. A gust of spring blew in the front, scattering the pack of cards on the sill. Bought in Suva nearly twenty years ago, they show on their backs two Fijian warriors contending with clubs before a bure, under palm trees. I let them lie on the floor for a day or so, in case there was some message in the way they fell; if so, I couldn't decipher it. When I gathered them up again I found there's one missing: the six of spades. This, cartomancers say, is a card of overcoming. Of faith and works. It is also the card of the day of the birth of Elvis Aaron Presley and his twin brother Jesse Moses, after whom my elder son is named. The six of spades cannot stop thinking about love and romance. They are dreamers and must be careful that their dreams do not become nightmares. They have to keep on striving until what they imagine becomes real. I do not know what the lack of this card in the deck can mean, apart from an inconvenience while playing Go Fish with my younger son. Does it signify that the positive qualities represented by the card are absent from my life? Or, contrariwise, is it that its negatives no longer afflict me? I'm the kind of person who reads horoscopes only casually and yet always finds that they speak truly to whatever my current dilemmas may be. This is so even when I read horoscopes for birth signs other than my own. I'm always mindful of the epigraph Umberto Eco invented for Foucault's Pendulum yet find its (implied) advice impossible to take: Superstition brings bad luck. Meanwhile, where is the six of spades? Under the sofa? Did it get mixed up with the pile of newspapers on the floor and recycled? Perhaps it blew right out the window and down the street, becoming one of those fugitive playing cards you sometimes find, always face down, and turn over to see what your luck is like today. One thing I learned of cartomancy struck me strangely: my card is the Jack of Diamonds. When, years ago now, I bought miniature playing card packs for my sons, we found an extra card in one of them. It was, natch, the Jack of Diamonds. It's been sitting up there on the bookshelf in the sitting room ever since, waiting for me to find out it belongs here. Waiting, perhaps, with a sardonic glint in its eye, for Elvis to leave the building.

2 comments:

chiefbiscuit said...

I didn't know Elvis was a twin ... the things you learn. I know what you mean about horoscopes - I think they employ writers to make them up. I liked reading about your playing cards.

Martin Edmond said...

just now found the errant six - it had fallen out the window and was lying, face up, on the bricks below. fished it up with a piece of dowel with some yellow tack stuck to the end ...