Falling, floating, soft as silk

Another day. Another town. Another crowd. Most of the inhabitants of the small country town are crammed into the big top, eyes alight with excitement, mouths rounded into 'o's' of surprise and admiration.

The silk is a gentle whisper against your skin as you ready yourself for your dramatic entrance. It is sometimes hard to believe that this delicate fabric is the only thing stopping you from plummeting fifty odd feet to your death, yet you know it will hold. Delicate, but also strong.

For a moment you are not sure if you are describing the silk or yourself and the voice in your head changes so it is not your own. A face fills your inner vision, a distraction you most definitely do not need. Eyes as blue as the silk you crush between shaking fingers jump from your memories and appear as solid flesh before you.

His hair, black and tempting as sin, glows dully under the sudden illumination of a spotlight and the clean cut lines of his profile are thrown into sharp regard.

"Please," you beg, tears swimming in your eyes, departing down your cheeks to smear your carefully applied makeup and wash away the glitter. "Please leave me alone."

He does not respond, but simply gives you a slightly hurt look, the small furrow, that you have always found adorable, appearing between his eyebrows.

"I've moved on. I've reworked the act. I don't need you anymore." You try to spin steel through your words, but the boyish smile he gives you cuts through the false bravado with ease.

"Oh, darling." he croons, stepping forwards to wrap you in the familiar embrace that smells of chalk and musk. "You will always need me. You can't live without me."

Almost without meaning to you relax into the corded muscles of his neck and shoulder, the woven rope of strength you have spent so long creating unravelling strand by strand.

"There now," he whispers, "isn't that better?"

You nod, lightheaded with joy from his closeness.

"Now," he guides you gently to the edge of the platform. "I'll go first, and then you jump for me to catch you." He places a silken kiss on your lips. "Just like we practised."

In another breath he has leapt off the platform, spinning and twirling in the air, a ballet dancer unrestrained by the forces of gravity. The familiar crescendo that is your cue arrives in the music and you let yourself drop, the silk curling around your body, slipping through your fingers.

He gazes up at you with pride, arms stretched out to catch you and you let go of your final restraint. The sand of the floor rushes up to meet you and the panicked screams of the audience echo in your ears. They remind you of different screams, your own, when you found him swinging from the rafter of his room. You have always found the fear of the audience amusing. Of course he is going to catch you, how could they doubt it; this is a manoeuvre you have practiced together thousands of times. Looking down, you ready yourself for the landing, offering him all of your trust.

But he is not there. Only the bare, cold earth is there to greet you.

Whispered words brush past your ears, soothing your panic, his voice caressing as his hands once did, the same hands that wrote the note, the same hands that tied the knot in the rope, the same hands that clutched convulsively at life once he kicked the stool away.

"You can't live without me." he murmurs, "So why not die with me?"

It is delicate but strong, yet sometimes, even silk breaks.