The business has dropped sharply ever since you left. We now travel in caravans; I had to sell the circus building. It is being broken down; no music swirls out of its bright gold-filmed windows in the evening anymore. We now have half-hearted soup for supper, sometimes with bread. But it’s not so bad. Something about Charles Dickens has inspired people to believe that there is something remorse about being broke and poor, alas, despite him being the great writer that he was, it is not so. I still have the wealth of each bright, lit-up and glamorous circus night within my heart, and they make me a rich old man.
The music from Empress Flurence, drums and all, still whistles in my ears. The poetry of our dance, the sing song of the trapezium, and the sliver of artistically blown smoke rings – ah the beautiful days within me. The extravaganza of our circus was unmatchable, but I knew they all came only to watch my Last Dancer.
I apologise for showing no grace in my letter, but I must ask you, how are you? I hope the big city is treating you well and is offering you every comfort you dreamed of. I hear that you are looking for work and that you are engaged to be married soon. The best of my wishes, dear Lucy. Everybody here at the company misses you, especially Matinee, our jazz monkey. I wish you’d have never run away.
What is sad is that I wish so not for myself, but for you. You had the power to become something the world had never seen. I could see it in the way you moved on the stage, I could feel it in the way the audience gasped when you stopped to breathe in the end. I saw it in the restlessness within you, as you sought avenues to set your demons free. It is true that it was your beauty and demeanor which made our circus what it was, after you left, the people just stopped coming in. Each evening without you was as dry as dream, as if the sun had never risen, as if the music had never been sung. After all what is reality without the touch of passion? They say I am turning delirious.
Today, I do not write asking you to come back. You were never my prisoner Lucy, for I am but an inebriate man. I am sorry that my cage had cooped you, and that the cruelty and misery of the circus business stole your murderous smile, but I must warn you not to mistake the kingdom of your talent for a prison too. You mustn’t run away from what is within you. You, princess, are a forest on fire. You are burning all over and your blaze and light are inescapable. You must dance like starlight and burn like flames. Dive into the dark rum of life, and do what you must, but never forget, that your gift must become your discipline. Claim the stage, and light it up.
I never was the master of your body, but I am the master of your soul. Bless me Lucy, and do not let the lights of the city turn you dark. In your world, you must become my Last Dancer again.
Still A Circus Master