The Circus by Seb Duncan

The Circus by Seb Duncan

Photo by Daniele Franchi on Unsplash

My grandmother joined the circus.

Exactly when this happened is uncertain, but as a child I had visions of her as I knew her then, five foot tall with grey hair, stiff deportment, walking along a high wire or taming lions.

The crowd would shout and clap in amazement, at the feats of this ninety year old performer.

In fact, in my child’s mind, it was almost as if she was the main attraction.

A poster had been specially designed with her at the centre, sitting inside a cannon and waving, just before being shot out across the crowd.

Curly Victorian typography, above her head would announce:

My parents always referred to her as a bit of a black sheep.

This only made things worse.

Now a motorbike was jumping through a burning hoop driven by a bleating, furry black animal, pearl necklace flying behind her as she landed safely on the other side, albeit with a slightly singed ear.

As I became a teenager, I was soon distracted by teenage things and forgot that my granny had joined the circus.

When she passed away, I forgot to ask my mother about her mother’s curious past.
When my mother died there was no one left to ask about it.

In my maturity, the visions of her have become more vivid.

This time, a beautiful young woman, proudly curtsied, then with head held high,
the crowd applauded, as one more death-defying act had been performed.

My grandmother joined the circus but this is all I really know.


This story was featured in the Autumn edition of GoldDust