"It's as if there is love and loss at the same time, together in a beautiful kind of pain."
The acrobats, trapeze artists and illusionists were suspended above me; I was a mere spectator. It felt as if they were performing just for me, as if I was wasting their time.
Girls were not dressed in feathered costumes manipulating ribbons whilst spinning at precarious heights and making my gut lurch. Elephants didn't prance around wearing tiaras on their heads and lions weren't tormented to be inherently out of their nature. Men didn't wear bow ties and overuse the word 'extravagant'. Trumpets didn't make triumphant and jolly music. This wasn't a funfair; funfairs are flooded with mockery, I don't believe in mockery; mockery is childish. This was a night circus.
White doves swooped through me; they were rare but magical and made moments of pure creation. A man in a tuxedo was elevated above a strip of carpet with nothing to lean on, his hands clasped behind his back and an almost identical man hovered next to him, but he had a piece of silver cord throttling his leg.
He began to move extremely slowly, his arms reached out in front of him, first one then the other and he started to spin uncontrollably, faster and faster until he was only a blur at the end of a rope. He stopped suddenly and fell. The audience gasped in horror, unsure whether this was part of the act. My face felt as though it was contorted with panic. The audience dived out of the way, making space for him to land on the hard ground. I couldn't bear to watch, yet I couldn't look away. He stopped at eye level with the crowd, his top hat in perfect position. He lifted a...