On a line, a boy not older than eight years, of a bright round face and a mane of thick black hair balances some twenty meters above the ground under a circus dome. He is walking, jumping and turning, supported by thin, almost invisible safety ropes. The night of the spectacle everything will be in place, but the ropes not. The hall beneath will be full of people. Anna knows the boy is a character of her favourite fantasy novel, The Night Circus, she is carrying the novel in her heart even in sleep, its velvety darkness, its silvery light. In the novel, the boy has a name, and he has a twin sister, right now, in her dream, she cannot not remember the name of either of them. Never mind, he is here to tell her everything is just right. Even if it does not seem so, everything is so very right. As if to prove that, his dark-haired head bounces again, he performs another loop, his eyes glisten as he lands safely on the line and gets steady. He is marching the line surely, and even when he sometimes loses the balance, he uses the strong back and core and arm muscles to swish himself back, and the ropes are there, in any case, but will not be – the night of the show. He is communicating without words, though initially, they were the words of the novel that created him for her. Everything will be fine, even if she, Anna, never gathers the courage to walk out of this house…
Anna wakes up, remembering the boy on the line for a split of a second, then her attention is grabbed by body sensations, she is drenched in sweat, the sheets around are light and oppressive. But she could walk out… As quickly as she thinks the thought, her husband stirs beside her, not completely awaken, he reaches for her in semi-sleep, squeezing her hip. She almost stops breathing, waiting till he falls into the slumber of forgetfulness again. The night around is not velvety, it is just black, but she remembers the dream. I can walk out tomorrow morning. No, not tomorrow morning, the boy whispers back in her ear. You are right, tomorrow will be late. I would look him in the eye and see the guilt there, and again, I would stay. Go now, Anna, the boy whispers again, he summersaults, astonished look on his face as he almost falls into the depth, but not quite, his skills and the ropes save him. You are right, she repeats, she carefully untangles the limbs from the sheets and tiptoes out of the room, sweat getting cold on her skin. She takes a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and goes downstairs to the quiet living-room. Using the light of the mobile phone, she finds the novel Night Circus in the shelf, then she is out in the corridor, slipping into the sneakers, carefully turning the knob of the front door. Out in the spring night, a cat on a lonely errand crosses the silent street, its fur shines dark in the streetlight. Her house key stayed dangling in the inner side of the lock, Anna realizes and looks around. Just go, Anna.
The story belongs to all that decide to walk out of places that do not feel home anymore.
With gratitude for the book https://erinmorgenstern.com/writing/the-night-circus/