2000s Archive

The Showiest Show on Earth

continued (page 3 of 3)

Immediately, the room erupted. The brothers jumped to their feet and began hugging one another, and a flurry of fellow performers and circus people swarmed their table. For several minutes, the room seemed to pulse with hugs, high fives, and shouts of glee. After a while, Roberto emerged from the scrum. He was crying. “I worked very hard for this, my whole life,” he said. “Finally, we made it.” As he spoke, his wife appeared by his side. The two realized they had yet to congratulate each other. Roberto leaned over and kissed Carlinda on the cheek.

“For España,” he said.

“For España,” she repeated.

Then the couple embraced.

A few minutes later, I walked back to my hotel, past the perfectly manicured town square, past the casino overlooking the Mediterranean. The magic of the circus is that it creates a perfectly idealized realm, I thought, where performers and audience members step out of their daily lives and agree to participate in a fantasy come to life, where all the men are strong, all the women are beautiful, people can fly, and bears can dance. Monaco, I realized, is exactly the same. It’s a place designed to make illusions seem real. And in a few short days, I had come to believe that I belonged in this world, where every car is a Rolls-Royce, every night is a royal feast, and every dream comes true.

I was startled when it began to rain.

bruce feiler,
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