Our spot was the Best Western near the airport. Cliche, I know, but he insisted.
Let's stay out of the way, he said. You don't really want to hurt your husband.
He was right.
We met at the Circus. After the show. He let me hold the chair while he whipped the air around the lion's head. He seemed to be going through the motions at that point. It was nothing like how he'd done it an hour before with the booming voice and the deliberate movements. He still had the boots on, but he was not the same man.
I wanted him in that backstage moment, wanted to peel off his boots and rub his feet with my thumbs as my mother had taught me. I'd never done that for my husband. I couldn't bring myself to do it.
When I made love with the lion tamer, he insisted I be gentle. He was slow to react and lacked all rhythm and timing. He was, by all accounts, tame, and when it was over I pitied him as one would a boy who had never learned to catch.
Then he held me against his chest--where some beast had left a scar--and he stroked my hair in an unfamiliar way that I could not get enough of.