Circus of Sorrow
The Spirit of the Circus
Leone walked on, shoulders drooping, eyes down and hands in his pockets. He didn’t belong here any more, he was too old. Far too old.
Really, he should have left long ago, but seeing all those people’s smiling, bewildered faces had kept him going. They had given him all the energy and youth he had needed, but now he could no longer see them. At least, not properly.
The circus was ending and everyone was filing out in groups. Families and friends and lovers, all chatting amongst themselves excitedly over what they had seen that night. Leone smiled sadly and trudged on. He didn’t mind the wind or the cold any more. It seemed to blow right through him but at least it made him feel alive. His sad eyes watched as the last few scattered groups got in their cars and drove back to their homes.
The circus looked so different after everyone had left. It always did. During show time it was full of chatter and life, but at night it was as quiet as death’s embrace, punctured only by the occasional animal in the distance or the chattering of the performers.
Leone found himself walking towards the big tent, feeling as though it was drawing him to it. Perhaps it would be best to get inside. It should be warmer in there, if only slightly. Out here, his features were slowly being frozen into a permanent grimace.
The entire thing was fuzzy and shaky in his eyes. He hadn’t been able to see anything properly ever since the accident earlier that year. From that day forth he had no longer felt at home at the circus. Leone had already made up his mind by the time he had made it inside. In the morning, he would leave forever.
Inside, all the largest lights had been turned off. The darkness made his lonely heart feel at home. He looked up at the stages, where crowds of people would sit, gasping and laughing. But now, it was all devoid of life. Leone laughed quietly at a joke only he could hear.
The old man carried on in his determined course. Now he was inside, he felt an incurable urge to go back outside. Carrying on in a straight line, Leone walked out the exit opposite the way he had come in. It felt special somehow. Like only he could see its true meaning.
Outside, it had begun to rain gently. The cold water fell onto him and made him shiver as he walked on in the darkness. He knew he was close to his aim and destiny and it scared him. When he wasn’t out around the circus, no longer to even do his own jobs, he would be there.
His already bad eyesight strained in the growing darkness, trying to mark out the place. It was certainly nice how everyone had treated it. It made him feel needed and loved by his adopted family. But at the same time, the terrible sadness was there. It always would be. That was why he had to leave.
He was there. Kneeling down, he placed his hand against the gravestone and smiled. He looked around at all the flowers that had been placed by crying performers, some uttering his name. He had tried to comfort them, but he knew that they could no longer see him.
He ran a withered finger along the words etched into it and shuddered ever so slightly as he did so. Taking a big breath that was purely metaphorical; he stood up and walked. Where he was going he had no idea. But he would walk until he reached his destiny.