Slightly Spooky Reads #2: The Flea Circus (Part 2 of 2)

“I need you to see this.” I dragged her back to my discovery.

“Oh, I had almost forgotten about this place,” she said. Her eyes looked misty, but I couldn’t tell if it was from the dust.

“Who owned this room?”

“Your grandfather did. He painted as a hobby.”

“And the woman on the canvas?”

“Ah, that was your grandmother,” my mom smiled, wiping a tear from the corner of her eye.

“That’s her?” I asked in disbelief. “Why did lolo paint her in such an odd way?”

“That was the day they first met,” my mom explained. “Your lolo went to the town’s fiesta and decided to attend the cirus. It was in one of the shows, amidst little people running about scaring kids, and a woman in a mermaid costume getting dunked in a water-filled basin that she spotted your lola—the ringmaster of a flea circus. Apparently, she was very good at making the tiny sets of carriages and carousels that the fleas could move around in. Your lolo was impressed with the detail of her work and plucked the courage to ask her out. When your lolo asked for her hand in marriage, she never went back to the circus.”

I was speechless. I looked through the canvasses, and lola, as a flea ringmaster, was apparently my grandfather’s favorite subject. They were beautiful and strange paintings of a pale young woman in a loose bun, a small black hat, a striped tailored jacket and very red lips.

“How come you never mentioned this?”

“When I was younger, our home was filled with his paintings. But when papa died, mama hid all of it in here because she said it was too painful. I guess over the years, I forgot.”

“I always thought lola never really approved of my drawings.”

“You’ve got her all wrong,” my mom shook her head. “This was the note she left for me,” she reached into her pocket.

Take care of this house for Elsa. Someday, she will be a fine artist, just like her lolo.


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