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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 …

salad days

Tiny hard flakes are catching the street lights. The three of us walk in short steps on the slippery sidewalk. I keep checking my watch thinking we will be late but of course we are thirty minutes early. E is excited, talking randomly about twins and magical worlds and ice cream all at once. N is quiet, her hand in mine in the cold air. 

The movie is the typical family film, edged with romance then a few moments when I find myself laughing out loud. E is giggling away, both hands over her mouth like a little mouse that has stolen a truckload of cheese. She whispers to me sometimes, in that loud child's voice that carries through the room. No one seems to care. She wants to know why a car driving away from a volcano gets covered in white ash. She wants to know what a letter says, as she only read part of it. She wants to know if this guy is the one who did the voice in that other film. She wants me to know that she knows the name of that actress. 


When it is over, and we are stretching slowly I watch both of them. N is checking for something in her purse. E is slapping her hat on, wrapping her scarf around her neck. I begin to realize how simple the night has been, how uneventful. This time last year there was screaming on telephones, drama, threats and the usual hysteria. E had a fever in the middle of it. I cannot say more, but would. It was a terrible way to begin the year.

I walk in-between them, each holding one of my hands. The street is white now, the cars slicing through the wet piles as they whip past. These are some salad days, I tell myself knowing full well there is nothing green around us. These are days when we can just be ourselves, enjoying simple pleasures, making pancakes and jokes at the kitchen table.




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