Prelude to ‘Cul-de-Sac’
Circus clowns are tragic creatures. That’s something she learned all too well from the numerous family trips into New York City via the Long Island Rail Road to witness the excitement of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. No cotton candy for her – the stunning feats would leave her mouth agape. Sometimes she felt as if she couldn’t catch her breath until the end.
When death arrived at her family’s suburban door, winter came early. That she thought of the circus was cosmic justice in that she always identified with the tragic clown in times of stress.
Now, reflecting back on how death brought with it alienation as easily as neighbors used to walk through their side door with Sunday’s lemon meringue pies, she wished that she had paid more attention to the acrobats tumbling high above the stage at Madison Square Garden, than to the bumbling clown. Then she might have learned how to be more flexible in her family’s cancer-stricken tranquillity. Ah, but then there were those clowns who suspended reality of space and time, crowding into tiny cars.
Motherless at fifteen, she found herself caught between the magic of childhood innocence and the illusion of adult responsibility.