I kept putting it down, trying to busy myself doing other things, to stretch the time I’d have with them. I phoned my sister, I ate some chips, I tried to watch some crap on TV. Desperately wanting to know what would happen, to go back into that world that smelt like caramel, where magic lurked in corners, where anything could happen in a striped tent, where real life faded into nothing and my thoughts were consumed only by it. My hands itched. I held out. Until I could no longer.
Then I picked it up again and fell head-over-heels back into its magical realism. I devoured the rest of the book I’d started on Saturday, greedily. I couldn’t stop, but I also didn’t want it to stop. Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus: a delicious smorgasbord of magic and delight. It fills all the senses – provocative smells linger amongst visions of loveliness and the most believable unbelievable acts.
Time bounces, stars shine and scatter, people don’t grow old, the scenes leave one awe-struck, entranced by everything. I lingered on pages, wanting to stay in elaborately designed tents, looking around, wondrous. I wanted to spend a whole lot of time just waiting at the gate, watching people arrive and, even more importantly, watching them leave. I wanted to hear what they said about the circus, wanted to see the expressions on their faces.
And those circus-goers were only the periphery of the story. I fell in love with the main characters and didn’t want to let them go. When I realised where the story was going, I wanted to shout into the book, to warn them, to make the story carry on. I wanted more.
Which left me with the dilemma at the start of this blog. To just let myself go, and devour it greedily, or to give myself little morsels, to nibble on and savour? You know what happened already. Complete feasting. And what a worthy feast it was.
But now it’s finished and I’m left feeling distraught, missing them, missing the tents and the pathways between them, missing the bonfires and the chocolate mice, missing the clocks. I’m even missing the semi-transparent man. Missing, just missing.
Real life, and its accompanying whirlwind of thoughts whistled back into my head. Now, however, the faint smell of caramel lingers. And it’s vaguely comforting amongst all the missing.