Levitating for Hazel

I do this trick where I make it look like I’m levitating. I found it in a magic book as a teenager. Took me years to perfect it.

My daughter loves it, tells her friends, begs me to do it.

But I don’t do it that much.

I save it.

And when she’s with one or two of her friends out on the playground, and I know I have the perfect angle to do it good, I’ll tell her to watch and start to get in my stance.

She bounces, giggles, tugs at her friends’ arms.

“He’s gonna do it! Watch watch watch!”

I ham it up, like it takes a lot of concentration, like it takes the life out of me. And I only do it for a second or two, just long enough to break their minds but not long enough to let them ponder the science.

They inevitably ask me to do it again, call over friends, plead with me to tell them how I did it.

But I never break the code.

I want Hazel to think — no, really believe — that her daddy is magical.

My dad did that for me.

He used to take off his thumb and put it back on. He’d ham it up too, like it hurt a little bit. My brother and I would gather around, excited to be amazed.

It really put magic in the air, like when he came home early from work and played basketball with all the neighborhood kids until it was too dark to see the ball. Or when put me on his back to go sledding.

Anything was possible. I half-believed we’d sled all the way around the world, skip off the curb and jump to the moon — me holding on, and him pulling up over the mountains, waving to the people in the little white planes.

We’d pop up to the moon, walk the edge of the craters, and dance in slow motion. Just for the afternoon. Then he’d fly us home so we could get back to regular sledding.

I know it sounds crazy, but my dad could do it. I swear he can.

If he wanted to.