I squash the costumes, and bits I bought, into my car as best I can. The back window is completely blocked and I cannot see out of it at all. The clothing smells old and has that musty, almost stale smell, as if the sweat of the original owners is still in the fabric.
The pictures from his office have my mind spinning. He was part of my circus; he was there. That was his family’s circus. When I asked he just got upset and dismissed me, hurrying me to leave. I struck a nerve with him. I desperately want to know more, to ask him more, but risk losing him as a supplier.
My last task is shopping. We need food, toilet paper, and the other shit required to live on the fringes. I stop at the small coastal town nearest my new home and make my way around the few stores there. All I require are the basics, and a somewhat decent coffee. The folks in the stores eye me like the stranger I am, looking me up and down.
In a small grocer I gather fresh produce to cook with. A friendly girl behind the counter smiles and greets me; she doesn’t look at me like the older people have.
“Do you know where I can get a haircut in town?” I ask, while she bags my purchases into green plastic bags. She snickers and looks at me with a sweet smile.
“Two blocks up turn left, there’s a barber, but I think he’d shave it bald if you let him at that.” She eyes my messy long hair. “I wouldn’t cut it if I were you. Here.” She rolls a hair tie off her skinny wrist and hands it to me. “Just pull it back. The man-bun is all the rage nowadays.”
Giving a nod of thanks I pull my hair up into her pink elastic band and pay for the groceries. The final item on my list is done and I am relieved, ready to return to my own world and leave this charade of normal behind me.
“Thank you.” I smile as I grab the bags from the end of her counter.
“Pleasure, new guy in town.” She giggles and turns to help the purple haired old lady who has now ambled up to her cash register.
I leave the store feeling better. This day wasn’t what I hoped it to be, and the answers I wanted are now more questions. My heart is heavy with my mother’s confessions and Gavin’s betrayal. I am human and I feel just like they do.
Fuck me, this is all hurting me more than it should.
The short drive back home isn’t long and the hot afternoon sun is relentless on the car. Even with the AC on the sun burns me through the window.
Bouncing on the rutted dirt track I make my way to the tent, uneasiness making me check my mirrors and scan the surrounds. I feel as if I have been outed; that someone knows I am here now.
When I get out into the searing heat I look at the trailer where she is, and she is standing at my window staring out at me. She looks tired and dirty, broken and defeated. I hardly recognise my beautiful aerial dancer, but I recognise something else. Her eyes are as dead as the ones I watched through the window that summer, glassed over and devoid of emotion, as if the soul in them has perished and floated away with the wind.
Bestselling Author Ashleigh Giannoccaro writes edgy dark romance and erotic horror, self published by choice she writes the stories others don’t dare. Currently residing in Johannesburg South Africa with her husband and two daughters Ashleigh enjoys writing stories that make you fall in love with the unlovable and leave you asking questions. When not writing she can be found with her kindle in a sunny spot reading or traveling with her family.