She carries the slip of paper back to the table, sits down and wishes that she still smoked, wants something to mark this moment, but instead she lets her hand hover over the last remaining chocolate biscuit and then she carefully unfolds the square of newsprint,
” lady dwarf named as co-respondent in circus strong mans’ divorce petition”
and then she laughs out loud, the sound bouncing off the tiled walls, sounding louder than it really is.
She shakes her head, reminds herself that there is no-one to see this action and re-reads the headline, still smiling.
It is a gift of sorts, she can, see her mother, or perhaps father, carefully cutting the headline, choosing a resting place for it and then, but it is the then that pulls her up. who exactly was it meant for ? Was it meant for anyone? or is it just evidence of mis-firing synapses, her parents gentle fall into mild confusion, quiet loss and her fathers’ baffled expression as he tried, and failed, to keep on top of names, dates, constantly vanishing personal possessions.
She shrugs, it’s all too late now, she cannot have these questions answered, so has to take the cuttings in face value, left for someone to do something with and as there is no-body else then she will take them as hers, her gift and to what she can with them.
This one is already pulling at her, a thread of a story beginning to unwind. She knows that now is the best time to start, so takes a bite of the biscuit which she has been absently holding, licks the melted chocolate off her fingers and sits for a moment, absolutely still, waiting for the story to emerge.
The Next Narrative – When God gives you lemons……
I heard that once, that saying and I thought, that’s me, that’s my life and God knows, he’s thrown plenty of lemons my way and I like to think that I’ve made lemonade.
I didn’t ask for any of this, like you didn’t ask to be blond or left-handed or blue-eyed, it’s just what we get given and it’s what we do with it that matters.
So, I’m small, really, really small, but and I say so myself, perfect, a bonsai version of a woman, everything in proportion, but tiny and take it from me, that’s just not true of many of the dwarves I know.
They look unfinished, lumpy, hands too big, heads too big, but me, I’m a porcelain doll of perfection.
And yeah, I use the word dwarf, hell, why not. In my mind it’s like those black kids using the word n****, I’m just reclaiming it, making it my own and I like to see your faces when I use the word, like to see you look away, try to hide your embarrassment, try to hide your desire.
And right again, this is my chosen career, my profession, like I said, you get lemons and I tried the big world, tried an office job, everyone being kind to me, trying not to stare when I used a foot step to turn the lights on and off. I was the one everyone came to, poured their hearts out, because none of them ever thought I had that kind of life, real, raw, dirty. To them I was just a doll, something to talk to and I learnt to not see the mens’ eyes on me, learnt to ignore the unspoken questions, the barely thought about, cos thinking about that stuff makes you feel like a bad man, a wrong man, a pervert, physical pondering.
And I’d probably still be there, wearing my age 3 to 4 clothes and do you know how hard it is to find black trousers in that size?, if it hadn’t had been for the freak show and yeah, I know what you’re thinking, freak show, in this day and age. How exploitative, how un PC, how very not modern, but you’d be wrong.
This was the new freaks – freak show run by freaks for freaks, making lemonade, hell, we were making champagne from the lemons we got given.
And I loved it, loved being around people who saw that what I had was special, saw that I was special, made me feel special and the money was great and people looked at me and I looked right back at them and dared them to stare.
We ran late at night, carried good security, ejected the drunks, the pity whores and became cool, stylish, invited to the right parties, got to wear tiny versions of designer outfits., there was even talk of me becoming a Vivienne Westwood muse.
Sometimes, people, who am I fooling here, men, it was always men, wanted to touch me, to hold me, offered me a lot of money and hey why have lemonade when you can have Chivas Regal ?
So, I became a teeny tiny courtesan, Polly in your pocket and yeah, it’s maybe not the career path my mother dreamed for me, but she’s not the one who has to live my life and besides and you probably didn’t know this, but dwarves, well, let’s just say, we’re not known for our longevity.
Besides, it’s not like any of the men mattered, none of them got to me. I stayed pure, clean, in my head I was still the porcelain doll.
I didn’t know it, but love was coming, love would fill me, love would lift me up.
See, you need to understand something about the New Age freaks, most of us, well, our bodies are different, born that way and we’re cautious about the others, the ones who do it for themselves, it’s almost as if they’re cheating, but, we need them, they add colour, glamour, so we have the tattooed lady, the starving man, the geek and of course a strong man. They change, a new geek every summer, a different strong man. they come and go, but we, we are constant.
Listen to me, I’ve gone all thoughtful, big words. I’m tiny, but I’m not stupid, I just pretend, it makes me more doll-like, more delicate.
But, the strong man, well, one went away and a new one came and i noticed him, all us girls did, because he was drop dead beautiful and I started watching him,watching him perform, spying on him training, feasting my eyes on his perfect body.
Yeah, you’re right, it was something about the scale of him, the space he took up.
I found myself dreaming about him, his arms wrapped round me, his biceps bigger Than my head, but it was more than that, there was something else, something that made me shy and I gotta tell you, I don’t do shy, no way Jose, but I couldn’t talk to him.
I just watched and waited, waited for the right moment, knew it would come…….
( to be continued)