The Joker hated goodbyes. He had lasted a lifetime at the Great Indian Circus. And every time someone left he felt miserable. Few years back therefore he had promised himself that he would never again allow himself to be so close to someone that he could get hurt by them. The circus toured the world and he continued to make people laugh. He was good at it. And he made friends; he was good at that too.
One day as they were touring Russia, they came across a small town a few hours from St. Petersburg. He did not like it there much; cold, barren and seemingly desolate. He sat down with his bread and water and wondered if it would be a good idea to have a swig of vodka so early in the day. Suddenly there was a commotion a few yards to his left. Old and cynical, he studiedly ignored it. After all, what exciting could happen that he had not seen earlier? Suddenly one of the kids came running. “Joker, come fast”, he cried, “There’s a fairy amongst us.”
“Fairy? Now that’s interesting. What have these fools been up to?” He walked towards the commotion and saw the most astounding gymnast he had ever seen in his life. He scrutinised her thoroughly with his seasoned eyes. And gave up. She was perfect. Even he cold not find a fault. And then she looked at him and gave him the most dazzling smile.
Maroushka soon became a part of the family. Everyone called her “The Russian Princess”. She flew in the air while the joker stood below and made the world laugh and while she was flying she would always look at him and smile. They became acquaintances and before he knew, they were friends. It was completely her doing; she had this infectious quality in her which could make everyone feel special. She made them do bonfires sitting out in the freezing cold of Moscow, made them sing and they all laughed.
One day, just like she had come into their lives, she was gone. And no one knew where she was. The joker felt like a fool. He had again let someone come close to him. And he felt cheated. She had no reason to befriend him.
And then one day, he received an envelope. Inside it was a carefully pressed orchid, preserved from the cold winters of Russia. It was signed “Russian Princess” and the Joker felt like smiling. She had remembered.
And in that one letter she had taught him that there need not be any last goodbyes. That night, the joker’s laughs were not cynical. He actually was smiling.