I should have read the fine print. There, in teeny-tiny black letters blazed the truth upon tarnished paper; I had signed away my body and soul without a single moment's thought. All I had wanted was to walk the tightrope – falling off was never an option.
"Don't you see? Here, you agreed to give yourself to me."
The truth is that he owns me now, my ringmaster in his obsidian top hat and ridiculous coat-tails. Now, he brings to me his tattered garments and his needles. He is the king of this tent, with his crooked smile and flashing eyes. Even the fiercest of felines fear him and slink away with their tails between their legs.
Once I had been the leading lady, the star of this show. I was fearless and reckless, but no matter what I always survived. There were no heights tall enough to deter or diffuse me. Maybe he was right; I was just trying to kill myself all along.
Those days are over. He keeps me chained to him like a rusty lock, and I'm certain that he long ago swallowed the key. I am a prisoner in his cage, hidden away from human sight, which demeans and humiliates me. Even the freaks in this show get an adoring audience peering through bars into their world.
My mother writes, black accusations staining pages like plagues: "Why couldn't you have stayed home and become a doctor? But no, you wanted to see the world." I can taste the sarcasm dripping from her favorite pen. I have no world now. He is my world now, and I must comply with his wishes.
He asks nothing of me except adoration and kindness. Once the act is through and he can slip out of his uncomfortable leather shoes and wipe off his absurd makeup, he slips into my cage and we slowly sip our tea wordlessly, with fingers crossed. Occasionally he'll read to me the fairytales I used to enjoy as a child, and when he snips my locks we watch them fall to the ground and both let a few tears escape with a smile.
I have been a prisoner in this cage for what feels like forever. Day by day I endure the tiny four caged walls and the agoraphobia I can feel begins to set in. He does keep me a comfortable prisoner.
Tonight, at midnight, the bearded lady is coming to break me out. Together her and I are going to escape this place and run away together and live somewhere where I can let my hair grow as long as I want, and we can forget about this crazy act.