In 1998, my father riffled a red deck of playing cards while we attended a family reunion on the outskirts of Bogota, Colombia. He asked me to pick one, and I told him to stop when his fingers reached the middle of the pack. As he closed his eyes, I pulled out the ace of hearts and placed it near the end. He ordered me to think hard about my random selection, and then pretended to write something on the inside of his left arm.
“Concentrate,” he said while I watched him roll up his sleeves. “This won’t work unless you focus on your card.”
He pretended to be lost. He looked around, shook his head and grabbed a newspaper by a fireplace. After selecting a faded page, he set it on fire, gathered the gray-white ashes and gently spread them over his slightly tanned arm. Two dark figures slowly appeared on his grayish skin: “A♥.”