Vanishing acts

In 1958 I met a clown in the muddy backyard of his trailer. I was very very young when this happened, barely born. Some would say that I am making it all up, that I can’t possibly remember. But I remember the clown, I do! He had two yellow roses in one hand. Not the kind you would want on your kitchen table though––too grey to be considered yellow, really. His face was painted white, with a big black mouth and thick eyebrows. He offered me his cigarette, but I told him no. Silly little man, I’m barely born, I can’t start smoking now.

He frowned, in that big exaggerated way, and started telling me little stories instead. He called them vanishing acts. They were meant to make me understand––understand what it feels like to disappear.

Pangea was the greatest spectacle of all, you know. You should have seen her! Land as far as the eye could see, water on all sides. The greatest island we’ve ever known. One day she went exploring, decided she could be more, decided she should surprise herself––broke apart into a million little pieces. And then they all started drifting.

The fragments of our great lady Pangea had no communication for millions of years. They all grew and grew and grew, became entirely unrecognizable to each other at family gatherings. Different trees, and fruits, and butterflies. Even the air was different.

Do you think our great lady Pangea ever made peace with that? Ever saw it as growth? I’ve learnt that peace is the greatest and most outrageous thing we can ask for.