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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 …

on refrigerators


V's feet are slapping against the floor. I hear her before she bursts into the kitchen, a leaf of paper hanging from her hand.
"Papa. Papa. Look. Look." She howls.
The paint is still wet. It is a flurry of brown and blue, some red. My eyes jump wide. I clap my hands.
"Put it on the fridge!" I announce, and she does.
A smile, an expression of complete satisfaction presents itself. She runs out of the room, to do it all again.

This is what all of us want, I tell myself. To be appreciated. To have our work grace a wall. It seems so simple, but in an adult life - how often does this happen? How rare is this?

Then, I remember Jan Groover telling us to tape our latest photographs to the door of the refrigerator. "If you still like it after a week, then you have something." She added, a long thin cigarette dangling from her lip.



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