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My feet land on the soft sawdust soil and I touch the ground, letting go of the silk fabric above me, breathing hard.
I shut my mouth, waiting for an infinite moment, the round circus tent is full of people but when the music stops, when the lights are so bright they are almost blinding, the sudden stillness makes you feel like you are alone in an empty space....
But then they start to clap, clap and cheer for me, the kids and their parents, and I let out a breath of relief. They are happy. I feared they would have hated me because I made a mistake: I missed the silk fabric during a movement up in the air so clumsy I was about to fall, face down to the ground. I twisted my wrist in an awful way and the crowd broke in a worried "ooh" while I struggled to get a grip to the next movement, but I managed to make it to the end... Cheers means they forgave my mistake. I'm not so sure the ringmaster will be as kindhearted...
I smile widely and do my best curtsy, bowing down as much as I am able to, my chest going crazily up and down, one hand on my belly, the other behind me. But even that one small movement hurts like crazy, my wrist screaming but I manage to keep my smile on.
I hope it’s not broken...
I do a few more curtsy to the crowd while walking back to the blood red curtains and one last smile before disappearing behind them.
Once hidden, I can finally release a look of pain, I hold my arm, tears crowding the edges of my eyes.
-you good, dear? - Madame Katiusha, "the strongest woman in the world", asks me, while getting ready for her next number.
-it hurts...I hope it's just sprained...-
She looks at me with pity - see Mr Red, the sooner the better...- then steps outside the curtains.
I slowly walk outside in the foggy evening. It’s dark and gloomy outside, noises of laughter and explosions echoes muffled through the empty field. I hold back a tear of pain. I hate it, every moment of the show, of the training, of the never-ending wanders through cities and countries, but it is my life and I have to endure it.

I walk past Johnny Short-arm who is feeding the lions, getting them in the mood for the show, and knocked on Mr Red's wagon....

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-Come in - a raspy voice yells at me from inside and I slowly step through the tinkling beaded curtains. -what's up now? - he barks, quite annoyed, putting down his bottle
He is putting his clown make up on, painting a big black fake smile over his chalk white cheeks. He is the Ringmaster.
-I hurt my wrist...- I tell him. My voice shaking a bit.
He snorts -this is so like you, you found a new excuse to make me lose money don’t you? You're more a waste than a gain. - he keeps on babbling while painting his nose red. I don't know how people can laugh at clowns, or find them any amusing. They are beyond disturbing in my opinion...
Then he gets up and grabs my wrist. He moves it, twisting it up and down, causing me new sparks of pain. I squeeze my eyes to it until he stops.
-it's not broken, unfortunately for you. Put a swaddling on. I give you one day. You better be alright by the day right after tomorrow, you. -
I struggle not to show any emotion as I rush outside, but I’m screaming with joy within myself. A whole day to heal!

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I run outside, in the smell of animals and sweat, I run past the lions’ cage and the knife thrower, to my own little caravan that I share with Hyacinth, the contortionist.
I have no family, no story behind me, just a girl sold to the circus. Hyacinth has a pendant with the picture of a young woman inside, she was found with it around her neck, and she tells the story she invented, whenever she gets the chance, of how she is a noble girl, the daughter of a duke or something, and how her family is looking for her and trying to take her back home. Anybody ever showed up asking of her but, God, if I envy her for that small piece of who she was before the circus.
But I have a dress. A beautiful lady's dress the girls gave me as a present three Christmases ago. I cherish
it like the most precious treasure.
And I was free to wander in the small city. I smile as I blend in the small crowd.
So many little shops in the streets, I stopped to watch the windows, pretending to choose something, smelling the freshly baked bread from a bakery. A quick cross walking in front of a church, just like any proper lady would do.
It felt so good, even though people looked at me weirdly, because it was unusual for a lady to walk all by herself. But I had no one to walk with.
I planned to run away so many times, leave the Ringmaster and the shows and everything behind and start a new life. A proper life. I also tried once, a few years ago: I tried for a few days to find a place to live, maybe a job but all the doors were shut in my face. When I came back nobody even realized I tried to run away. Only Hyacinth was worried about me.
-Miss Farbridge?-
But I never stopped figuring myself as another person, in another life, walking to my own elegant house, like this very moment. Maybe even bored about it, aren’t all ladies bored of their own comfortable lives? No shows, no Ringmaster, no pain… I closed my eyes.
-Miss Farbridge, is that you?-
I was torn between hoping to be completely healed by tomorrow, so that I don’t have to feel Ringmaster's slapping palm, and hoping I will still still be hurting so that I have some more time to walk by myself...
Suddenly I feel a grab on my aching wrist and I almost scream in pain, turning around. It’s an elegant young man, clutching my wrist, but he immediately lets go of my arm as I pull it back away from them pain.
He looks at me with wide eyes -Miss Farbridge, could it be you? -
I look at him blinking a few times. I have no idea what to answer. Could I be her, just for a little while?
He talks again -when you disappeared, we thought we had lost you...-
I am not her…but I can pretend.

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sending all my love to you!
Juliet ~♥