Yesterday I was given tickets to the circus. Two tickets. Bright and shiny. Promising joy and fun and maybe clowns though I’m not really sure about that.

Two tickets, I thought, Excellent – one for myself and the other for… Who?

My girlfriend, alas, was away, else she would have been first on the list, as UK law dictates.

I asked friends. They couldn’t get shifts covered, were working till after the start time, WAS EVERYONE WORKING ON THIS HALLOWE’ED THURSDAY EVE??

At least some were honest and just said they plain old didn’t want to go to the circus.

But what of the gymnasts? What of the trapezists? And the elephants? What of them?

My panic deepened. Did no-one truly want to go to the circus? Would this circus be performed to a room full of empty seats? Does the circus exist if no-one goes to see it?

I never found the answers to these questions as I stayed in and had a bath. I was racked with guilt for not going, though the hot water soon sluiced those feelings off me.

After all, I was given those tickets, I hadn’t sought them out. They had sought me out. And I couldn’t sort out a circus-going colleague.

The worst thing? The thing the clowns would all laugh/cry at?

A friend contacted me this morning, a friend who didn’t want to go to the circus, and who answered on their partner’s behalf with a no. They said they’d mentioned it to their partner this morning. The conversation went something like this:

Friend: Do you like the circus?

Partner: Yes.

F: Would you have gone last night?

P: I wouldn’t have said no.

SO CLOSE! At least the tickets would have been used then. If only. Alas. What might have been.

But I still had a bloody lovely bath. So every CLOWN has a silver lining.

Overall I would not recommend not being able to find anyone to go to the circus with, for the existential and relational questions it brings up, along with the angst for the tickets and indeed the circus.