“No one cares when a clown cries…”
(1972, The Day The clown Cried)
The clown stood in front of the mirror, leaning one hand against the wall. It was late in the night and the tiny incandescent bulb above the mirror did its best to drive out the lengthening shadows. He looked at his reflection, his alter ego, his image that wasn’t true, and sighed. This is not me, he told himself. I am not someone who gives up. I’ve been making people laugh ever since I can remember and now, in a matter of one week, I’ve seemed to slip.
He shook his head and broke his train of thought. The make-up on his face was fading after a hard day’s work and he could feel the tiredness in his legs creeping upward. He knew that come tomorrow, he would forget all his insecurities and go about his routine as if nothing were wrong. He knew, therefore, that this was the only time he could devote to some soul-searching. The tiredness could wait.
“You’re desperate,” someone had told him. “You are clutching at straws and hoping that people would laugh at your inane attempt at humor. You have lost your touch.”
He cringed when those words played back in his head. He looked back at all those times when he felt genuinely satisfied about the quality of his work; he knew that he could manage to keep his audience enthralled come what may, and he had done it, time and again, over the past five years. And now…
And now, in a matter of a week, he had had three lousy performances and one no-show and he was shocked when he realized it a bit too late. Reviews started pouring in, and bouquets were replaced with brickbats. One member of the audience had walked out in the middle of the show, something that had never ever happened before. He had to pull up his socks or give up trying to make people laugh.
“I’m not someone who gives up,” he told his reflection in the mirror. “Tomorrow will be a better day.”
He splashed cold water over his face and closed his eyes, allowing the slight breeze to wash over him. His skin felt the heat of the day evaporating and his mind relaxed a bit. As he switched off the light and plunged the room into darkness, a tiny sliver of light from a street lamp forced its way through the half-open window, kissed the small imperfection on the mirror, and shone with an unexpected brilliance, reflecting a thousand times within the crack, causing a mosaic of light and glass.
The clown did not notice the mirror cracked with shards of light as he pulled the sheets over himself and fell into a dreamless sleep.