image courtesy of the graphis fairy
Once there was a circus girl who spent her whole life on a tightrope. There was no ladder by which she could climb down. There was no net to catch her when she fell. The only way to escape was by jumping, which meant death.
Every day she balanced precariously on the fine line, with a crowd clamoring for more tricks on one side, and her master standing with a blood-drenched whip on the other. Suspended in the carnival which was killing her, she danced to music she did not know, and feeling the hot rustle of her delicate, filmy skirt around her, and listening to the happy screams of the people watching her, she sat and cried and danced on her tightrope every day, every year.
Then one day, a boy nobody recognized walked into the town. He saw the signs pointing to the girl who had lived her whole life on a tightrope. And he entered the circus.
Amid a seething mass of bloated red faces streaked with circus paint, amid a sea of flailing arms slapping and clapping, he walked toward her.
For the first time in her life, the girl stumbled. The crowd gasped.
She barely regained her balance. The master screamed for a whip. The crowd laughed noisily. But she had only eyes for him.
He was beautiful, she thought.
The boy looked at her dancing, and his heart ached with pain.
“Come down!” he called.
“I can’t,” she replied.
“Jump,” he said.
“I’ll die,” she said, and he knew it was true.
So he went to the circus master and said, “Let her down.”
“Oh come, sonny!” the master squealed, biting into his whip with secret rage. “She’s mine! And dance she will on that tightrope until she becomes old and useless, and then I shall cut the rope and bye-bye with her! You have no right to interfere. After all, I bought her.”
The boy turned around and asked the girl, “Would you like to come down?”
She nodded frantically, pausing in the middle of her dance to sway back and forth slowly, trembling.
“I tell you, she can’t!” the master shouted. “Her parents have incurred a debt with me which no money can pay, and in return, I must have somebody to dance on that rope till he drops!”
“Then I shall take her place on the tightrope,” the boy said, turning back around. “Let her down.”
The master’s jaw fell open. The crowd roared in approval. A ladder was brought, and the boy climbed up and carried the girl gently down. She sat down on the floor, weak and dizzy. The master cracked his whip, yelling profanities.
The boy then swung lightly onto the tightrope.
The whole crowd gasped.
The music began. The crowd began to jeer as its harsh tune blared out—a silly, fast-beat cacophony, jarring to the eardrums and suitable for a circus. But the boy raised his hand for silence, and began singing the music himself.
And what music it was!
What joy! What power! What an explosion of beauty!
He ran lightly forward in quick, agile steps.
He leaped up in one strong, smooth movement and landed with grace, reeling to the sad and beautiful notes no one had ever heard before.
He sang. He laughed. He spun.
For the next ten minutes, the noisy crowd sat subdued, speechless with shock, as they watched the most beautiful performance there had ever been in the history of the circus.
His feet were no longer feet. They were strength. His hands were no longer hands. They were motion. His body was fluidity, his every action art. Some laughed for joy, without knowing why. Some shed tears. But the little circus girl clapped hardest of all.
Then, in one smooth, confident movement, he slid to a stop in the middle of the tightrope and stood tall, inclining his head, as if preparing for a bow.
The crowd prepared to clap.
The master rubbed his hands together and chuckled with glee, “This little boy will get far more money than all the circuses in the world put together!”
But the boy did not bow.
His eyes shining bright, looking straight at the girl, he bent his knees and jumped.
p. s. note: today is the first anniversary of this website…and also the happy day that I have gained over 100 followers! thank you so much, heartfelt thanks, to everyone with the kindness and patience to read through my blog. the readers are the ones who keep me writing:) xoxo love you all to the moon and back, –Esther Haelan Ra