The Sparrows routine

Submitted into Contest #191 in response to: Write a story that includes someone saying, “I feel alive.”... view prompt

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Coming of Age Inspirational Sad

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Jessica peeked through the curtains of the circus tent. She has never been more exicited in her entire 16 years of living, for today she was going to achieve her dream. 

"and now preforming her original trapeze routine, The amazing, the talented, Sparrow!" the ring master announced in his usual enthusiasm. The crowd let out a small cheer waiting in antisipation to see the act in real time, they all got out their phones to record just a moment.

Jessica was estatic to say the least, she quickly entered the ring where the bright lights shone blindly in her eyes. She didnt even care about the pain in her eyes from the bright lights she was already so familiar with, all she cared about was perfecting this

routine. She quickly climbed the ladder leading to a small platform which she would depart off of. She must of been 30 feet in the air but she was not afraid- no, she was excited, so excited that her stomach was starting to turn with antisipation. She chalked up her hands and took hold of the metal rod that she would be holding on to for dear life in just 5 second. She held her hands high and swung. The crowd cheered and whisteled almost as excited as her, this sudden action almost through Jessica off but she straightened herself. Jessica was sooring through the air like a sparrow just as her stage name suggested. She made the first jump making sure to do a flip before grabbing hold of the other metal rod. 

"I FEEL ALIVE" Jessica screamed with excitment as she made the second leap grabbing hold of a higher metal rod. She continued the routine with it getting more difficult as it progressed. The crowd was loving it, people recorded, people cheered, children stopped eating their popcorn to gaze in amazement at this woman. It was all doing swell until the final flip, Jessica thought she could be flashy and add one more flip into the routine but her hands didnt meet the metal rod, instead her feet barley missed it and she went plummenting down 30 feet onto the net. She was gutted to say the least, tears rolled down her cheeked as she sobbed quietly to ensure no one heard her. The crowd remained silent but suddenly one by one they all started

clapping until the whole tent was filled with clapping and cheering for the young woman. Jessica was helped off the the net and wiped the tears off her cheeks, she took a proud bow in the middle of the ring and made her exit while waving to the children.

Although she didnt perfect her routine, she could at least say it went amazingly!

"next time ill get it." Jessica said to herself in determination. Jessica looked down upon herself to see the cuts and bruises all along her body. All these injuries caused by failure and she had another one added to her tonight. "thats the body of a hard worker" a voice came from behind her, jessica jumped at this and turned around swiftly to see the ring master. The ring master was a aged man, his brown hair slowly falling out as the months passed. He was almost like a father to her and the other run aways, he fed them, clothed them and gave them purpose. "I- um. What are you doing here? dont you have an act to announce?" Jessica attemped to change the topic. "That I just did, child. Whats gotten you down, dear?" The ring master said with pity. "Dont act daft" Jessica scoffed. Clearly the aged man didnt get it, he didnt know what it was like to perform all he did was entertain with his words. "you know, jessica. When I was your age my father wasnt very kind to me." the man started "he never believed i was his child even with a dna test proving it, he believed it was one big conspiracy. He was black and I was white that was the only logic he could see. Because of his abuse i was left with scars all over my body, these scars were a reminder of my failure to him as a son but I didnt let it get me down. I took these scars and gave them new meaning, that meaning was this" He stated as waved his hands around to his surroundings- the circus. "with every hit he layed upon me a new thought of how to escape the nightmare came into my head and eventually all these ideas led to a circus. A new hope for kids like me to go to when life has them down."

Jessica listened to the mans story as if they were the only words that mattered. "my scars arent my failure.... theyre my.. determination.." she said her voice getting more confident as she spoke. She clenched her bruised fist and walked confidently with her head held high to behind the tent to practise to perfect her routine.

"atta girl." The ring master whispered, too quietly for Jessica to hear.

Jessica just finished up 2 hours of practising parts of her routine, now all she had to do tomorrow during practise was try to do it all as one. She hopped around helping pack up after tonights performance. Luckily they didnt have to pack the tent away as they were going to be in this spot for the next week for other showings.

Jessica joined the others for dinner around the campfire. "So.. what did you all think of my routine?" Jessica asked curiously but with a hint of shyness that didnt go unnoticed by the other performers.

"I thought it was beautiful, Jessica. But not as beautiful as you, my dear." the ring master said in a sweet tone. Jessica blushed in embarrassment "does anyone have some REAL imput?" Jessica snarked. "Dont get cocky while preforming, you cant add new spins in while doing the routine. Routines need to be improved on BEFORE you perform them, not in the middle of the performance!" Jessicas friend, Ellie bellowed, clearly upset that Jessica messed up her routine. Ellie was more of a experienced performer. The girl had short dirty blonde hair and a ruggad look about her. Jessica looked at her defeated, Ellie sighed "look Jessica, you know I love you and just dont want you to get hurt! them nets arent one hundred percent, you know!" Jessica replied "Yeah I know" she said still sounding defeated "next time, ill take your advice" she said, appreciative of Ellies critisism.

Later that night Jessica laid in bed thinking about what the ring master said. She stared at her beaten up hands with a smirk. "fuck yeah" she whispered under her breath. She drifted off to sleep that night dreaming of the day she would perfect her routine.

March 24, 2023 21:50

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1 comment

Galen Gower
22:30 Apr 05, 2023

I'm not much of an editor, so take my advice at your own risk: Early on you use the phrase "in his usual enthusiasm", but we don't know what that is. It's your job to tell us his usual enthusiasm is something like "the enthusiasm of firecrackers exploding" or a twofer to round him out a little more like "his enthusiasm was only matched by the strain his belly put on his waistband". Similarly, you use phrases like "it went amazingly" and "asked curiously but with a hint of shyness". Something like "Although she didn't perfect her routine, ...


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