Aaaaanyway, it's this one here. Some people wanted to know more. So, here's more.
Vittorio whistled, the signal for the roustabout to bring the big rope over to where he could grab it, and come down from his trapeze. He came down, slowly, hand over hand, without wrapping his leg around the rope. A test. His own little assessment of his vigor and strength, something his father taught him as a way to measure himself. A safety net in an act that had no safety net. As he came to ground he paused and looked up at the trapeze he had so recently left. And he looked across to the stand where his family stood, in every performance, before they would hurl themselves into space, trusting his strong hands and arms to catch them and deliver them safely to their bar, and back to the stand. And he looked down, into the center of the ring, where, just a week before, his own and only daughter had died from her fall. Had died, because he dropped her. Missed her. And she fell.
These things happen, he knew. These things happen to families that fly. Except they were not supposed to happen to his. Not HIS family. But it had.
His wife no longer flew. She had gotten too old, she said. She didn't feel comfortable on the bar any longer. And she had said he should stop, as well. And he had said no. He was still strong. And Roberto was so young. He, Vittorio still had strength. See his chest. Feel his arms. See him come down the rope, hand over hand. From forty feet.
Vittorio walked from the tent to the trailer. Roberto was seated on a stool, outside, talking to two little townie children, who were shooed away when he saw his grandfather approach.
Vittorio stood, facing his grandson.
"Roberto, take my hands, swing me down between your legs, and then up to a handstand, over your head."
Roberto did so, with ease.
"Hold me, boy. Hold me up here ... longer ... longer ... longer still. Just a little longer. Now, let me down."
Vittorio landed gently, on the ground, in front of Roberto.
"Now, Roberto, go to the tent and climb the rope to my bar. Hand over hand. No legs. Get on the bar and get ready to catch me."
In silence they walked to the big top, and Vittorio watched as his grandson did as he was bidden. Hand over hand he ascended the big rope, and then he got in the catcher's position on the bar. He signaled the roustabout to move the rope away.
"Swing, Roberto. I am coming up."
Vittorio climbed up to the stand and took the trapeze in his hand, holding the guy rope in the other. As he leaned out over the empty, he remembered the day he caught his father. And now his Grandson was going to catch him. A right of passage.
He launched himself.
P.S. I invented the BEST sandwich today. Crunchy PB&J, on buttered toast, with dill pickles and potato chips. YUM.