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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 …

pink houses (I have been here before)




It is downright silly, that path in the woods I never followed. Maybe that is why I resisted, stuck listening to the snicker in the back of my head - the eternal 13 year old we never get rid of. All the same, on Saturday I trudged through the snow, crossed a tiny bridge and wandered through the forest. Families with babies in carriages made their way along narrow paths. Old people moved slowly, eyeing me as I passed them. The camera was tucked under my jacket, to keep the film from snapping in the cold and to avoid being suspicious. And then, the path that leads up, a small gate, a curve of the road and I do not know what is behind it.

It is a pair of tall apartment buildings. I have taken so many pictures of them, and I even shot a scene from Blackbetty in one, and did not realize this was the same building. I have been here before. The streets are empty. A basketball court is covered in snow. A playground is completely still. There are great shiny pipes that snake their way along the sidewalk, taking 90 degree turns above entrances, a tangle of galvanized steel. The streets lead to dead ends, a tiny pink building with no one inside. There are clumps of icicles, like long hands by the sides of buildings. There is a warm spot of earth where there is no snow, as steam coughs from a dark hole. I follow ever alley, peeking through fences at a garbage dump, at the rusting carcasses of old cars. A quiet wave of satisfaction moves across my chest. A secret corner of the city opens up. There are stories to be told here.







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