When I was a little girl, I used to go to the Circus every year to celebrate my cousin's birthday.
I loved the circus. I didn't just go to any circus, I went to THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, I even forgave it for being in Madison Square Garden, instead of someplace in Brooklyn because I didn't think there was anywhere in Brooklyn to have it. Then my cousin got older and he probably didn't think circuses were cool anymore and we didn't go. But I always remembered them, with flashing lights and cotton candy and colors and people and animals and thrills and human beings stretching out to do the utmost types of things that human beings could do.
And at the circus everyone was the same. There was something very universal at the circus, where ages and races and religions and even being from Brooklyn or NYC didn't matter because we were at the Circus. And that was all that mattered.
Marcelle came to the Circus with us - She was very excited and watched through the car window the whole trip. She has an affinity for circuses.
I didn't start going to the circus again because I had children, I started going to the circus again because I realized I didn't need permission. Because all of the things I was as an adult were things that needed to be at the Circus, and the Circus would still be wonderful even if I weren't all the things I thought I should be. At the Circus I could let the universe know that I was still there, and the Universe could hear me, because the Universe can hear everything at the Circus.
Everything is a little more alive at the Circus, even the Universe. Even the dark things smile at the Circus, because the Circus is for them too. The Circus wouldn't even exist if it weren't for the dark things. I knew that even when I was tiny.
She confused the children, but she made the adults wonder. It's OK, it was good for them.
This year there were Things that were different, one one of those things was a door that looked like Poppets were playing with polymer clay and Stargates. Before the circus started the door opened and let the circus people out so they could play with us.
The Door opened and out came a woman with a very large ribbon.
Marcelle then went out of her way to make new friends, Like the Strongman who appreciated her taste in clothing:
And the Acrobat who helped the Girl of the House dress up in circus clothing. Then we all had to sit down and watch. We were only five rows from the floor. We could see the whites of their eyes and the fur of their tigers, even when they were above us we could see the rosin on their tightrope shoes. Gravity turned into a tiger right in front of us. And we had cotton candy and flashing lights and it didn't even matter that we were in Philadelphia. We were a little sad that there was no Ball of Death, but there were double barrelled female human cannonballs and a tiny woman who walked upside down on the roof.
And then at the end, because I know some of the secrets we stopped to watch the crew while all the other humans left to go back to their lives. And when Marcelle asked for picture with one of the dark things that stay invisible, he was surprised, but I explained that there was no Circus without him and his mates and we wanted to remember him too. I love ALL the magic at the Circus.
And the clowns had tumbled and lights had flashed and elephants danced and disappeared and promises that I made to myself when I was a child echoed loudly on the ride home. Because that was the pact. If I remember them, then I will remember me. Sometimes it is very easy to forget yourself. The Universe, of course, had been waiting for me. You can't fool the Universe, because we are all children at the Circus. All different kinds of children. The kind that laugh, or the kind that use math to figure out where the tiger went, or the kind that wish they could meet the stage manager, or the kind that wish they were the lion tamer, or the ones that wonder why it can't be like it is at the Circus all the time, where everyone is fully human together sharing something real and unreal at the same time, looking for the light in every shadow to see what's there.
PT Barnum brought us to it, but he knew that the humbug makes us human and being human is tricky. Smart alec that he was, he found it's darkling core, but also found it's light.
Marcelle and I brought Elephants home, so the Universe can hear us if we whisper in their ears.
It's a secret. Don't let PT know, he's happier selling humbug.