I got a new pair of shoes at the end of February, which came in a shoebox that looked like this (above). I took the sandals out and put the box on my dresser to look at later, because there was a letter printed on the inside that I’d wanted to read (just not, then).
Subsequently, when I was moving all my Jane Says materials downstairs to complete assembly so I could begin editing, I used the shoebox to transport small items on the way—stapler, paper clips, staples, heart-shaped blown-glass paperweight, etc. The box s’been sitting on my work table in the basement ever since.
Then, this past Friday, I posted this video wherein I speak about the “circus” — the word, it just kept circulating in my head. I couldn’t figure out why; but tonight, I did.
Tonight, I opened up the shoebox and read that letter and this is what it said:
September 14, 1966
Dear Mom and Dad
I saw the lion roar, and the bright lights shine down from the tent’s top. I saw the reflections from the hems of sequined dresses, and the smell of thinly tossed sawdust burned my nose – my eyes watered. I stood silently, as the pace of my heart joined in with the gallop of the white horses. They circled the tents with Hollywood ladies dancing on their saddles. My heart nearly pounded out of my blouse as the white stallions quickened their pace around the tent’s edge. I felt intoxicated for the first time. I felt the Circus.
I have packed my bags, and if you are reading this note, it must be morning. I left just as the moon was rising over the barn – the silver beams are peaking over the hills as I write this letter here at my childhood desk. The same desk. The same house. The same small farm. The same outskirts of the same small town. I decided that night at the circus – that “the same” was no longer an option – that “the same” wasn’t good enough. I am scared to go, shaking as my pen scribbles, but I am off to Los Angeles to join the Circus. They have offered me a spot where I will work and train; developing my talents until I am ready for my turn under the big top. I will travel and work, learn the Circus, and join their caravan of misfits and beautiful outcasts.
The circus will be back through here next summer, same time as this year, just before harvest. I will see you then, hopefully I will be trained-up and under the striped tent. I will make you proud. I will write from Los Angeles in three days time so you know I have made it safely. I should go now. The moon is rising and the time is now. It’s time for me to join the Circus.
With Love and Circus Dreams, Mary
If I know anything at all—this would be fate’s call.