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Going to the Circus

I had weeks of anticipation and only a slight disappointment that we weren’t going into the red-and-white striped tent I saw on a poster but, rather, into a large building with lots and lots of people.  Why are there so many people?  I may have reached for the reassurance of Dad’s hand as we moved through the crowd.  Daddy?   I do remember those same hands were soon very sticky with the cotton candy I badgered Dad for.  Why does it disappear on your tongue? Will my mouth stay red?  And, of course, popcorn and peanuts.

When the show finally began, Will it ever start? I was entranced by the lights and people and costumes  Look how high they climb and the beautiful sparkles.  How can she walk on that wire?  Can I have a cape like that? and colors And in turquoise? and sounds What’s a calliope? and smells. P.U. !

Everything happened at once.  I looked up at the wires as high as the clouds. How are they so high and how does a bicycle fit on a wire? Why don’t they run into each other?  I looked down at the sawdust arena.  What if the juggler drops one ball; do they all fall?  Is the lady really sawed in half?  And I was on the watch for animals, Can the tigers and lions get away? Why is the elephant sad? aerialists falling, What if she falls off the wire? and performers.  Is the clown hurt when he’s knocked down? How can that man eat the fire and not burn his mouth? But mostly I was ready to laugh.  Daddy, aren’t those clowns silly?

And Dad listened patiently to all my questions.

The spectacle seemed to go on forever and yet to end so soon.  It's already over?  We left for home and I’m sure I recounted every single minute for my ever-understanding Dad and later for my mother.  And then.... And then….

Grown-ups always ask what your favorite thing was, so I was prepared:  The beautiful costumes.  The high wires. Cotton candy because it is fluffy and it turns your mouth red. The clowns/elephants because they both wear funny hats and stand on small boxes but have sad eyes.

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