They rolled into town like mountains moving. Bigger than the army trucks we’d seen the week before, and far less regimented. At first, when Orson came running down the hill, he just said they were trucks carrying hot air balloons, but by the time the rest of us had gone back up there we saw tall caravans piled into high oblongs, like top hats teetering down the road. Horse floats followed, ends open but too dark to see inside. And then the biggest truck, with the logo on the side. ‘Circus,’ whispered someone. ‘Circus, here!’
In our town, summer holidays were nothing but sun-drenched silences, the hours plodding past. A circus was a living dream.
‘Noah,’ whispered Orson, nudging me in the ribs, ‘look.’
I followed his arm, not believing there could be anything else to see. But there they were, three tigers on the back of an open trailer. They sat there quietly, not roaring or leaping like the ones we’d seen in movies or magazines. They seemed, from our distance, comfortably relaxed, more like dogs than cats, basking lazily in the sun.
We all agreed then that the circus would stop in our town, an agreement formed more by desperation than hope. It had to stop here, we told ourselves. Tigers would be among us.