Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cirque du Soleil at the Bay

If there’s anything that can snap me out of a funk, it’s a circus. In fact, I believe a good circus can snap anyone out of a funky mood. Case in point: Darren and I have had some rough times these past few weeks – so rough, in fact, that they’ve involved me staying on friends’ couches instead of at home with him. But he’s had tickets to Cirque du Soleil since Christmas, so a few nights ago we decided to ease the tension with a good old-fashioned clown show.

The evening begins just like any other evening: with glasses of wine and witty conversation. The only variation is that we’re far away, isolated; we don’t hug or kiss, and the few smiles we share are strained with unease. We pop open a bottle of Napa Valley’s succulent chardonnay, which has been sitting on the top shelf in our refrigerator for months, waiting for a special occasion to be glugged down. There haven’t been many special occasions lately, and we figure Cirque du Soleil is as good as it’s gonna get. I drink mine, a little too quickly, while humming nervously in the bathroom, reapplying the makeup that I’d put on before work that morning. Darren lounges downstairs, in his favorite corner of the couch.

At 7:20 p.m., we take our last swigs and plod out the door – I in my colorful heels and he in his Cole Haan’s – just like we do every night. But this time we don’t hold hands. Tenderly, we fix our eyes on each other, like people do when they’re on first dates, and then decide to walk (instead of ride the T) to the circus. His walking-instead-of-riding decision is not a normal one, so I determine that tonight must be special. The bright yellow tents are set up just a mile down the road from our Potrero Hill condo.

The whole way there, we chatter, apprehensive, about The Biggest Loser and the snow in Park City, Utah and the new apartments and hospitals that are scheduled to go up around the neighborhood. Our words are those of strangers, but our eyes, our auras, are those of best friends. We’re friends who have been separated, perhaps unwillingly, and forced back together to revisit the reasons why we became friends in the first place.

We’re having fun. By the time we get through the gates and under the big yellow tents, we’re comfortable enough to laugh together. We haven’t laughed in unison in a long time.

Soon the acrobats take center stage and begin sashaying around the arena, stirring up the audience and provoking fits of mirth. The talent is dressed in bug costumes. There’s a lady bug here, a cricket there, and they come together to walk tightropes, swing in the air by their heels (which are wrapped around only a thin piece of rope), juggle, toss one another to the sky and flip and twirl on the way down, and bounce on trampolines.

The crowd is happy, and so are we.

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  1. Megger, I just love your writing! Hope everything works out with you and Darren. I'm glad I at least got to see you for a minute when you were in town!! Happy new year :)