Michael Delgado

Writer + Graphic Designer

199

4

King of Hearts

My wallet is full of cards. Whether business cards, identifications or coupons, there are from anyone pretending to reunite with me in the future. Soon, it won't be able to receive any more. Very well hidden between them lies a King of Hearts. Some people usually call it Suicide King since he looks like he's sticking a sword into his own head. I discovered that he calls himself Charles, possibly referencing Charlemagne, The Great Emperor, who is considered the Father of Europe due to his efforts unifying the western part of the Old Continent.

This odd king is a common artifact. Every deck of cards includes one. He is rigid and malleable at the same time. He's used to get lost when the cards are mixed. When he reappears, his shapes and colors attract the attention. The big K, the crown, the golden stripes and, specially, the red heart that identifies him. Only when you have analized the parts that integrate this monarch is that you're realized of his fate. He is an object of vice or entertainment, depending on the frequency and intensity with which he affects the lives of the players.

I track our first meeting to three years ago, when he became the bookmark of my books. I found him in some place hard to name. I guess I picked it up and it just became my reminder. I remember his pleasant company through the two hundred forty-seven pages of The Great Gatsby. Poor King, leaving the randomness of the Blackjack to remember me why Jay loved Daisy. I liked his presence. He offered some nostalgia, because as a child who didn't wanted to be king.

One day, I lost it and thought to replace it. I considered buying another set of cards, take its Suicide King and discard the rest, but I waited and after a couple of weeks I discovered him snooping in the section E of my mother's encyclopaedia, since then he inhabits my wallet.

If you firmly believe in luck, I'd say it works well as a talisman, but it doesn't contain powers except intruding and make me remember. But, is that power? Neither his creator gave it certain magical properties. Either way, his work is useful, he tells me what part of history I'm in. He has been the most durable bookmark that I had. He used to be close, ready to occupy the page I left until the next time.

However, this King no longer works as before. He exerts no force when I read in front of my tablet or computer. Visits to the library and midnight readings happen without him. Only when I recover some old books, he reveals himself and I'm glad he has the same effect.

Our meetings aren't regular anymore. Now, what I read stays right where I was. It is possible that the king will not be the same again. Hopefully, the small box in which he lives doesn't have enough room for resentment.

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