She's not a victim of despair
She's just a feeling in the air
~Kevin Ayers, 'Girl on a swing'


She was, a girl.

She was a girl, and she wasn't a day over nine. Her shiny, shiny, shiny skin-tight outfit contradicted her tender age. Accentuating every curve, every muscle, every bit of feminine beauty. And she was flying.

She was, flying.

Someone, somewhere, must have thought it was a bright idea to make her a woman. That someone, somewhere, had decided to decorate her shiny, shiny, shiny skin-tight outfit with fake plastic breasts, and as the girl curved back the audience gasped. Rut gasped. Rut was a boy, and he wasn't a day over twenty-one. He gasped, as the girl in her white exotic outfit was saved from certain death by her blue-clad friend.

She was, agile.

The blue-clad boy was strong and muscled and masculine, masculine, his arms holding the little beauty as his legs were swung over the trapeze, every bit of him balanced as he pulled her back up, let her go, watched her twist, took her hand as though they had never been separated. And Rut, watching the dance, wished he was part of it, part of them. For less than a breath, he wished he was the little girl, beautiful and young and enchanting.

She was, fragile.

After another breath and another, Rut watched her tiny skirt flare around her thighs, her tiny body shaking as she almost, almost slipped, her tiny hands touching her hair. It was ebony, the kind of ebony that Rut would have called black on any other person. It would feel like ebony, not like velvet or silk or fur, but like rough ebony wood. Rut closed his eyes to reach out to her, feel her. Smell her, touch her. Want her, need her. Hear her, hear Rosa gasp.

She was, a bird.

Rosa was another girl, and her hair was the kind of black that someone, somewhere, might call ebony. Her skin was the shade of brown that she called copper, and her hand was touching Rut's arm. Rosa, for less than a breath, wished she was the little girl, to curve and writhe at the firm touch of the blue-clad man. To be close to him. To love him. He was holding the girl's legs now as the trapeze went back and forth, left right left, and his hands were empty as she grabbed his legs, right left right.

She was, a dove.

Rut never noticed Rosa closing her eyes, licking her lips, leaving reality. She, she would always leave for her world of dreams, as though her senses couldn't ever satisfy her. The audience applauded. The girl took a bow, leapt back into the air, started the dance anew. Rut knew it wouldn't ever end. It couldn't ever end, and suddenly he knew that she'd fall, she'd slip and break her fragile little neck. She'd break her arms and legs, hands and feet, she'd break her fingers and toes and stay young forever.

She was, an angel.

And as the trapeze was lowered to the dirty sand, as thunder and lightning filled the circus, as the two young panting birds joined hands and bowed one last time, Rut joined Rosa in her realm of dreams. There was no circus, no lights, no audience. All that existed now was the girl, and she was there for him, turning and twisting. And as the deafening applause reached his ears, Rut could see the fragile glass form of the girl shattering at his touch, leaving nothing but red, red shards.

Rosa cried.

She was, no more.