My marriage can only be likened to a carnival side show; a three-ring circus of never-ending ballyhoos, noise and confusion. I seldom knew which end was up or which way the parade would take me and although I had a front row seat to the whole shebang it was as far from entertaining as you could get.
My husband was a freak, to put it mildly and had so many personas that if I’d had the foresight, I could have sold tickets to our life together, like some midway barker, and been a rich woman in the process. “Come one, come all!” I would have shouted with abandon. “See the Iguana man who changes his personality as easily as he changes his shirt! He has the uncanny ability to blend in perfectly with the fabric of your life until he feels safe enough to show his true colors and his pointy little head!”
He was also the Amazing Martyr whose talent was to make everything about him, especially when it wasn’t. And he was the Invisible Man who could disappear without a word even though, for all intents and purposes, it appeared that he was still in plain sight. If you’ve ever been confounded by the tiny Clown Car from which a dozen clowns unfurl themselves, a seemingly impossible feat, you wouldn’t have needed to look any further than the man I married to realize that his inner life was just like that car; there was always something surprising emerging from it and always with more volume and craziness then you could fathom.
The Magician had nothing on my man, as his sleight of hand with love was like one big, fat trick. ”Watch him pull promises out of a hat,” the barker would call. “Then he’ll make them disappear faster than you can say ‘Presto-Chango! Nothing up his sleeve? That’s what he wants you to believe, but he has plenty of secrets hiding in the recesses of his suit that only he is privy to and that you will never share!”
He was the Man of a Thousand Faces, The Acrobat, The Man on the Flying Trapeze. But the one thing he wasn’t was the Ringmaster, although he fancied himself as just that. I longed for him to run the show, at least once in a while. And I wanted our marriage to be the Greatest Show on Earth. But he had no clue how to juggle the responsibilities of married life or how to tame the lions of his mind. Rather, he concerned himself with seeing how many hoops he could make me jump through, cracking his proverbial whip as if he had a clue as to what he was doing.
In the end, he packed up his bag of tricks and followed the crazy calliope music of his musings out of my life, never to reprise his performance. But in my mind, once in a while I can still hear the carnival barker calling out, as the memory of it all comes flooding back, filling me with gratitude that I made it out from under the Big Top that was our life. It could have been so much more fun than it was, if only the two-headed man hadn’t come out to play and become a permanent part of the troop.