Secrets ran unchecked at the circus. Sunshine had seen most things a nine year should never see. Adults were careful of their secrets from one another, but sometimes forgot children walked among them, including Sunshine, sometimes revealing hopeless lives. The only think kind and pleasant in the circus was Madame Lavender, thought Sunshine, who was graceful and modest. She was proper and refined, with a touch of elegance to a world that was not gentle and kind to children. Madame Lavender was sweet like her fragrance, and lived in exciting colors like those of Christmas day that Sunshine so much enjoyed.
But sometimes, the circus could be the most wonderful place to live, bringing joy and everlasting happiness, to a child that knew nothing, but the opposite when you lived with the Tempest family. But all good things come to an end, and that is what happened often, happiness came in waves and just the opposite was true. Ebb and flowed came the calm, then suddenly, unexpectedly the tide would come in and drown out the laughter and smiles.
Sunshine was all to familiar of the ebb and flow, and closed her eyes when the tide came in, and brazed herself as the waves swallowed her wholly. And that’s what happened one day, the roaring waves came rolling in, and she held her breath. The unpleasant noises were muffled, and through the crashing of the waves, she heard Madame Lavender’s voice screaming and yelling. Sunshine ran to her tent, and stopped feet away from the entrance when something did not feel right. Madame Lavender never raised her voice above a whisper, it was sweet and gentle, but not today.
Sunshine watched as someone or something pushed Madame Lavender out of her tent. The front of her dress was torn, revealing her cleavage. Madame Lavender at first didn’t try to cover herself. When she realized her dress had been torn, she modestly shielded her chest with her torn dress. She pointed her finger at the culprit still inside her tent.
“He’s a monster!” Madam Lavender shouted to the curious onlookers that gathered around. “Who’s going to stop him?”
But no on dared to move forward.
A laugh came bellowing from inside the tent. The owner of the laugh stepped outside and Sunshine took two steps back when she saw her father, a large, behemoth man, with a large belly, a thick beard and mustache and deep, penetrating eyes.
“No one will help you,” father said, “everybody knows who pays them. I am their boss and nobody does anything without my say. Go on now, yell out for help, see who comes and helps you. Anybody who dares to come forward will be sent packing. Go on. Help! Help!”
“Your a monster,” Madame Lavender stood facing father, undaunted by his large presence. “You can’t do this to me.”
“I do as I please,” father said. “You are my property and as my property you do as I please.”
“I won’t let you touch me,” Madame Lavender said. “I am not your property. Keep away from me. Maybe some of the girls are afraid of you, but I am not. I won’t let you treat me like a common whore.”
“I’ll treat you as I see fit,” father said.
Sunshine wanted to runaway but couldn’t, if father saw her, he will tell mother something that was not true, anything, to get mother to use the broomstick on his daughter. Father has done it many times before, and mother always believed him. Lucky for her, father never saw her.
“Then leave my circus, see if I care,” father was still talking to Madame. “You were a helpless dog when I found you, and you will be a helpless dog, without me you are nothing. You will starve to death with your pretty dresses. Go on leave. I want you out of here by morning. Take your stuff and leave my circus. I have grown tired of you. If I still see you here tomorrow after breakfast, I will drag you by your hair in front of everybody and throw you out myself. You’ll set an example to the others who wishes to go against me.”
Father, walked away, leaving Madame Lavender, standing fearless against father and his troops. Sunshine couldn’t help but admire Madame. She had never seen anyone stand up to her father like that, not even the strongest man. Madame gathered her courage and walked back into her tent, determined to leave this place forever.