That night, sky looked like roof of the circus tent in daylight. Moonlight shone down through the holes in the sky. Lilly walked gingerly on the cold ground, sidestepping the cages and dry dung of elephants. Her tent looked strange to her.
Inside other girls were changing into work clothes and some were pulling on slightly torn fishnet stockings. Their chatter filled air and froze mid-air at Lilly’s sight. Their eyes followed her around as she changed. One of them asked her softly if she was okay. Lilly nodded and smiled softly. She could tell that all in that room were thankful that it was her and not them tonight.
Well she couldn’t escape it anyway. The company was running broke for months now and they were cutting jobs. At least she had tonight to fight for her slot. But against him. They had a bitter fight on that the same evening. Only one of them could have the job. Everything mattered on that night’s performance.
She shook herself and thought about her routine on the way to the main tent. Both of them were doing single trapeze tonight. She ran through the whole routine and her final signature move. She reminded herself as she stretched that she needed the job more than him.
She heard the cue for her and jogged to take her place in the queue. There on the other side of the stage was him. He looked pale to her, worried. He was chewing his bottom lip and she knew he was worried about that knee of his. There was clapping all around as she heard her name being announced.
With a bright smile and wave, she greeted the audience. Lights were blaring and she was 25 ft above ground. The floor loomed sinisterly without a safety net. The music started playing and she grabbed her pole and swung herself into action.
She could hear the crowd cheering as she proceeded to the end of her routine. She hung upside down and took confetti from her pocket and threw it around to more cheering. She saw him in the landing opposite to her’s as she swung back. He looked lost without hope. That beautiful smile that always made her heart skip a beat had vanished.
Crowd grew silent as it watched her hit the ground. There were murmurs and then shouts as she was taken backstage. The show was cut short as sirens filled the air. Crowd murmured angrily while pushing and shoving its way home. Fog settled down slyly as the night engulfed the tents in a tight embrace.