The skylight window

circus

Kelvin Hall Circus

Christmas is almost upon us again. It’s a time of year that for me triggers memories of Christmas past right down to the type of lights that decorated our tree back in the 1960s. Unlike the stark, cold micro LED lights that are available today the lights then were warm, cosy and welcoming. The memory that dominates however is the once upon a Christmas Eve spent at Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall Circus. As an excited nine-year old focusing my thoughts on the imminent arrival of Christmas Day there was no room in them for a form of entertainment that I wasn’t particularly interested in. However, as far as my parents were concerned it was a treat that I was meant to be grateful for and expected to be excited about. I duly obliged but behind the mask I was a reluctant attendee that not even the large candy floss in my hand could assuage. High in the ceiling directly above the circus ring was a large circular skylight window. Rather than watch the performances taking place in the circle before me I instead fixed my gaze on the circle above willing night to descend and thus hasten the arrival of the magic day. Meanwhile, the audience around me were sporadically applauding the performances taking place in the ring. I was reserving mine for the end of the performance unfolding above. The audience also laughed at the antics of the clowns, a reaction that puzzled me. I could never see what was funny about men in ridiculous shoes tripping over planks of wood or throwing pails of confetti over each other nor could I stand being expected to join in with the collective ‘Oh yes he is,’ response to the stupid clown’s ‘Oh no he isn’t’ prompt. Okay, I was a miserable sod but at least I was me and not some puppet dangling on somebody else’s expectations. As with the applause I reserved my laughter. When darkness finally fell upon the skylight window I was relieved. It fell just as the circus’ final curtain fell thus I was able to applaud and laugh without stirring any suspicion. Time to go home and straight to bed – the only time of year when I didn’t need to be told twice – and hasten the arrival of the magic day even quicker. Here I am years later, the circus denying nine-year old within me still excitedly looking up at that skylight window as Christmas approaches. Meanwhile the man in me has been too busy looking up at many other skylight windows since then.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The skylight window

  1. And there I was thinking I was the only one who didn’t ‘get’ clowns. I never saw anything remotely funny about grown men dressing up so strangely, nor laughing at people who were obviously so unhappy as to have to paint smiles upon their faces. The animals interested me, but I mourned the fact that they, too, were trapped in a charade. How ridiculous to have magnificent lions sitting on boxes. I had no skylight, only my inner dreams of returning home to my box of crayons so I could draw on the backs of old calendars.

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  2. Ah, so there were two of us at the circus that evening. You would’ve been welcome to share my skylight window; it was big enough for two 🙂

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  3. Christmas in Australia a lot different in many circles, we had a chimney but no skylight. Imagination did flow freely. Though quite often wondering how santa came down our small chimney.

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