If a kid the age of six could have recognized his destiny, he would have seen it as clearly in her eggshell blue eyes as he could spot when one person fell out of line in the traveling orchestra that day. As an onlooker, Wes could easily see that the musicians were always in perfect unison, both in form and harmony. They traversed the circus grounds in their red uniforms, the gold stitching overly ornate. Carnations of all colors topped their hats. Wes and his parents had come to the circus to see a play. They were currently running performances of a Midsummer Night’s Dream.
To kill time before the show they decided to pay a visit to the Memorial Tree even though wasn’t particular nearby the Shakespeare tent. Wes’s dad didn’t like the tree. He thought it was kind of creepy. “It’s a shrine,” he’d say. Truth be told, it was. But while they were there, around the tree ran the cellos and the violins by happenstance. The sound of the strings cut the somber tone in the air; one could argue however that the strings only added to the subdued mood.
Wes was staring up at a ballet shoe hanging from a seemingly wilting branch when the little girl came up beside him, her eyes the color of eggshells.
“I have shoes like that.” She had blond wispy curls and wore a maroon button up raincoat, even though Wes didn’t remember there being any chance of rain.
“Do you do ballet?”
The little girl nodded. “Can’t get my Saut de Chat right though.”
“It’s a jump. That’s what they call it in ballet school.”
The boy made a face. “Sounds fancy.”
The girl looked around. Surrounding them were colorful tents- rose pink, macaroon orange, pistachio green. Lanterns hung from the trees. Circus patrons stood on a network of interconnected cobblestone paths. “This place is fancy.” Wes nodded, hands in his pockets. “I’m Amelia by the way.” She put out hand.
Wes shook it, “Wes.”
“What do you think all this stuff is here for?” she asked, looking up at the items hanging in the tree directly above them: an Altoids tin, a music box, a beret.
“My dad says it’s a shrine.”
“What’s a shrine?”
Wes shrugged. “I think it has something to do with dead people.”
“Oh. That’s creepy.” Amelia stretched her arm to reach the ballet shoe. She took it off the tree. Wes looked around, as if checking to make sure no one was watching. His parents were caught up in what Wes could only imagine was a stupid disagreement. Amelia seemed to study the shoe for a moment. “So some dead lady wore this once?”
“I guess. You really think you should be holding it?”
“It’s kinda cool if you think about it. Someone probably mastered her Saut de Chat in these.” Ignoring Wes, she put the ballet shoe inside her coat.
“What are you doing?”
She put a finger to her lips. “Shhh!” She turned around just as her parents approached.
Her dad smiled at Wes. “Made a friend, Lia?”
Amelia nodded. “His name’s Wes.”
As with most kids who share secrets, it didn’t take long for a unique bond to be formed between the two, and it was a bond that would only grow.