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running away with the circus (looking for dolphins)

There are three of them, a brazen woman with bright eyes and a big voice, a man going grey with a hop in his step and a younger woman who might be their daughter or their niece that twists her short hair into little tufts. They roam the hotel, sometimes in elaborate costumes, letting us know that there will be a secret dance party near the ballroom in an hour.

The older woman strolls in during dinner in a costume of blinking Christmas lights and exotic face paint. V stares up at her, convinced she is a princess or a fairy or maybe both. The next night, she is all in black, great horns wobbling on her head. She always has a pair of black Converse high tops on, as if they go with every costume or maybe they are the only shoes she owns.

The man is typically dressed as a pirate, in a striped shirt, maybe an eye patch. He is perfectly relaxed, like his limbs are made of silly straws. The younger woman is always smiling, her mouth a wall of metal braces and lip gloss. I imagine they sleep …

Even the flies know how to find the openings

There are butterflies that come in from the balcony, flapping hard against the walls and the ceiling. They end up by the windows, smacking against the glass for a few minutes then resting. E runs through the house, shouting about them. I watch the tiny creature, wings closing in slow motion as it regroups. There is something ironic about a being that is so beautiful and so tragic at the same time. Even the flies know how to find the openings. 

There was a pair of butterflies that did this last year, almost to the day. I wonder if this is one of their children. I wonder what it must be like to live for just a few days and then die, a week or so at most, much of it slapping against windows trying to somehow get back outside. It seems impossible, yet merciful. 

The streets are full of people wandering in the heat with fresh flowers tucked under one arm, with cigarettes dangling from the corners of their mouths, with blisters on one heel, with spare change for the woman wrapped in black cloth who curls up on the sidewalk, her face on the ground with one hand thrust out, palm to the sky. There are people selling pineapples for three dollars, one cut open to show the inside with a small knife plunged into the center. It always disturbs me, standing wet and sticky in the fruit no one is buying. 

E skips next to me, chirping some dialogue from her latest Niki Dashentine story. She is ready to buy an ice cream, looking up at me from under the straw hat I bought her. 
"Do you think there will be another butterfly when we get home?" She asks.
"Anything is possible." I tell her.
"But would it be the same butterfly or a different one?" She continues.
"How would we know?" I ask her.
She thinks for a moment, her mouth twisting around.
"We could not know." She says.
"So then, we have to guess if the same butterfly would come back." I tell her.
"Nah." She answers. "It would not make the same mistake."














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