If Only You Knew

She stands behind the curtain listening to the hum of the crowd, smelling the hotdogs and popcorn, looking at the bright spotlights flashing through the gap in the curtain every once in a while. She still feels the pinch of nerves before every show, even though she has been doing it for so long now. She can hardly remember a time when this wasn’t her life, her routine, but there must have been one. She feels old and tired now, just wishing for a rest, but she knows he won’t let her stop.

The familiar music starts up, and so does the instant reaction – the hum becomes a roar, and adrenaline courses through her, sharpening the smells, saturating the spotlights and quickening her breathing until she doesn’t think she can take any more. Then he signals and she steps into the ring.

It doesn’t go well tonight. She is weary and a bit sore, and the monotony of her routine doesn’t help her to concentrate. She stumbles once or twice and completely messes up one of the jumps. The pinch of nerves becomes full felt fear – she knows what will happen now, she knows what he will think, what he will do.

Back behind the curtain, away from the excited eyes and glowing faces, the blows rain down upon her, all over her. She can’t get away from him, he is everywhere. Helpless she crouches in the corner, and waits as she has waited so many times before for it to be over, waits for her lesson to be learnt.

Another day, another town, another field, another set of excited eyes and glowing faces. She is near the entrance, watching the world go by – the small pleasure of the sun on her face, so rarely felt these days, warms a part of her. But it isn’t enough, it isn’t enough.

A woman and child approach her. The child squirms in his mother’s arms, desperate to catch a look at her face.

“Is she the one on the poster? Can we go to the circus tonight? Can we? I want to see the tiger! What does she do?”

“Well darling, I don’t know what she does, but of course we can see. I bet she’ll be pleased to get out of that cramped cage and do her tricks though!”

If only you knew.

If only you knew.

If Only You Knew

Emma Robinson

Toowong, Australia

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Artist's Description

There are some things that I feel incredibly strongly about, and this is one of them. I was looking at a website the other day which made me cry, and this story popped out. I hope that everyone who feels strongly about something does something to educate someone else – maybe then these things that hurt us will end.

Update: Something very exciting has come out of something very sad – this has been featured on the home page! I am shocked and amazed.

Artwork Comments

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