Walking the wire

What it’s like to grow up in the circus.

By Makenna Cook | Clarion Correspondent

Darkness consumed the ring as a small beacon of light created a shadow over the boy standing centerstage. His blonde hair was slicked with so much gel that not even a flight on the trapeze could lift a strand. His white shirt was marked with sweat but hidden by his vibrant, polka-dotted vest. 

Looking down from the high-wire pedestal, I saw him draw a deep breath. The lights began to flicker. The character stirred as the music hit a quirky tune. From forty feet in the air, I looked on at Tweedle Dee. 

My blue skirt covered my thighs as I looked down at my feet hanging over the pedestal. Audience members sat below me as I inhaled deeply. I felt the pedestal shake as the riggers tightened the wire, the only thing connecting me to the other walkers. 

The lights began to fade. The music intensified. The beam of light shot straight into my eyes as I clicked into character. The act had begun. My palms began to sweat. I closed my eyes for a half second before fixing them on the one-inch wire. I lifted the balance pole to my chest and swayed while the wire slid between my toes. 

I stepped off.

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