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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 …

smoke


Fumbling to make her sandwich in the dim light I shiver once, then again. It is time to nudge her slowly until her eyes open, remind her to brush her teeth and make sure the school bag has the right books in it. We move around each other in one of our many choreographed silences, hairbands offered, phones tucked into pockets, scarves pulled once, the click of a light going on, the turning of the lock, the elevator jangling down. Tiny dogs are barking in the early morning air as we go outside.

The yarmarka (outdoor market) that stood in two neat rows for weeks, is suddenly gone now. Without warning the tents and boxes of fruits are nowhere to be seen. People are smoking cigarettes in the wet air, shoulders bowed against the wind off the river. Sometimes it feels like everyone is smoking here, hacking and spitting on the sidewalks and the walls, tossing lit butts in garbage cans that then smoke and catch fire. Most mornings are punctuated with the smell of burning plastic.

"Are you still with a fever?" She asks me at one point.
"I think it is gone now." I answer. "I just feel like crap."
"Okay." She says, drawing the word out.
People are tiptoeing around a giant puddle, their feet sticking in the mud.
"You should still have soup for lunch." She reminds me.
"Alright." I tell her.
"You know, I like to skip." She says. "Even if I don't feel good I like to skip."



Comments

liv said…
Funny, the coincidences even when we are all thousands of miles away. I too went to the Farmers Market on Sunday, knowing it would be the last of the season. Well, maybe there will be one more, but only pumpkins and squash available.

Spent the week in fever and tossing pain from a kidney stone, not pleasant. Hope you are fully recovered soon. I have a ways to go.

But I will think of that little one skipping, ahhh, that makes me feel better already.

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