(This is another special posting by Suzy. I hope you enjoy it.)
The darkness of the arena was broken when the spotlight shot up to the high parapet above the center ring. The tightrope walker stood there in his skintight jumpsuit and soft soled shoes, staring a the cable stretching out before him. Just another night, another performance. He’d been walking cables for as long as he could remember back into his childhood. He’d begun with his parents standing at either end of a heavy rope that was just barely off the ground, in the same way most parents sit opposite each other when their children first begin to walk. Now it wasn’t the balancing on the wire that bothered him, but the balancing of the other facets of his life — a wife, kids, home. He’d enjoyed his family life as a kid in the show world as they constantly moved from city to city. His family and friends moved with him and there was stability even as the scenery changed. Now he’d met a girl who lived on the outside and didn’t understand his world. Her home had to be a solid structure. It was a place to raise kids who went to the same schools and had the same friends throughout their childhood. When they talked about it he felt a need to explain that he’d had a good education. His parents and the other adults on the circuit were teaching the kids in the show all the time. There was more classical education and a deeper understanding of mechanical sciences in the show-biz crowd than in most public school products he’d met. No, his folks didn’t take him to his grandparent’s house to share a roast dinner every Sunday. Hell, they didn’t go to church either, but they read the Bible and had more faith than most people.
Why did he want this one girl so much?
They’d met when the show arrived at this convention center. They played here every year, but this was the first time he had seen her. His dad, a shortish man who was still as slender as a young man and well muscled, had been discussing a small change in the order of their performance with him when she walked up to them with the paperwork telling them their backstage room assignments. Her black leggings showed off a pair of beautifully turned legs — the first place he always looked. She moved with grace and balance even though he doubted that she’d never tried a wire and probably never would. As they were settling into the rooms they had been assigned, he kept finding excuses to check in with her. She didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she had run a few errands of her own in his direction. Her eyes twinkled inviting him to spend more time with her if he dared. His life was all about daring so he’d asked her to dinner after the show. She’d turned him down. Not just a “No, thank you.” turn down, but letting him know he wasn’t good enough for her. He was nothing more than a gypsy and she only dated stable, settled men.
What was stable? At eighteen, he had a good job, a decent bank account, and a bright future. He understood how the business ran and planned to take it over when his folks retired. He wasn’t just some flake who played his days away. His just wasn’t a conventional career path. Couldn’t she see him as more than just a passing entertainment in her life.
His walk was over. He’d crossed the wire and stood on the other parapet accepting the applause from below. Then he saw her by the exit. She was standing with a townie, a local guy, obviously well off. Just behind her was Janelle, the tall red-headed daughter from the family that rode the trick show horses. Come to think of it, she had really well turned legs . . .
The last word:
Keep your sense of humor.