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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 …

Studencheskaya!

E sang in the cold rain today on the way to detskie sad. Dark and colorless, the low sky did not stop us from being silly. Men raked leaves into piles with handmade brooms - basically, twigs bunched together and wrapped in string. We pretended to be a train, and E was driving, calling out all of the stops.

“Studencheskaya!” she crowed, kicking wet leaves from our path.

“Parki!” She shouted.

Inside, the children were changing into dry clothes, and making a line at the door. They would all walk together to bring breakfast up to the classroom. The halls smelled of warm milk.

My face in the wet wind, I crossed the river. Fresh pastries thumping around in my pocket, I smelled both a sort of dread and a sense of possibilities. The world seemed to be wrapping around this solitary moment, each car splashing past me, each yellow leaf turning under my heel, each toy in each window, each face braced against the same wind.

A dark Monday like so many, but somehow my feet are still dry.

Comments

The Expatresse said…
Someone left a crown of yellow maple leaves on a car in front of our building. I saw a woman wearing on this weekend in Suzdal . . . never saw that before (like a dandelion necklace), but now saw it twice. Gotta learn how to make me one.
Stefanya said…
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