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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 …

the prisoner


I watch her sleeping, as I have on thousands of nights like this. Her hands are loose, lost in some raphaelite pose. A whistle pulls from her nostrils. A window is open, flipping the curtains and the covers are pulled tight around her. At least she has this peace, I tell myself wandering into the kitchen for a nightcap.

Her days are consumed by pens and pencils, drawings of girls having slumber parties on polka dot sheets, of her imaginary version of Central Park where hotdogs are free, of a house in the countryside. We play card games at the kitchen table, shoving the empty plates to one side after lunch. We take walks to buy some fresh trout, or blueberries in the afternoon.

I ask her how it feels to be forced to remain in the city while all of her friends are on the ocean, or in the country with grandparents.
"It is ok." She tells me, her voice small and breaking.
"So you don't feel like a prisoner?" I ask.
She rests her hand on my shoulder.
"No, because I am with you." She explains.
I squeeze her next to me.
"But yes, it makes me sad." She adds, after a moment.




Comments

liv said…
there is simply no way to express the feelings after reading that - no words - no words
Rachael said…
This is beautiful. Utterly freaking beautiful.

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