Surprises can be so good. I woke up to a personalized cookie on my front stoop. My name was spelled correctly, and the cookie was left without a note. I thought for sure it was from my sweet friend Alice, because when we were shopping together yesterday she bought a few for her niece and I commented on how cool it was that you could have our local bakery personalize their amazing frosted sugar cookies.

I sent Alice a note thanking her for the treat, and she wrote back: ?.

Huh. I was stumped. I sent out an S.O.S. on facebook, but nobody fessed up. One comment suggested that maybe I should be careful about eating the mysterious cookie. It hadn’t occurred to me to be wary, but then again, gifts aren’t always what they seem. Surprises can turn on a dime.

My sweetheart turned out to be Gina, one of my dearest friends. I’d also marveled at the cookies with her, and it hadn’t occurred to her I’d not put two and two together. It certainly didn’t occur to her I’d attach suspicion to a cookie. Makes a girl wonder when she’s worried about the intention behind a cookie that says, “Happy Valentine’s Day Jaime.”

I arrived home from work ready to pour a tall glass of milk to wash down the safe cookie, and a message popped up from a friend. “Are you going to the circus?”  The circus? I’d read about the Symbiotic Circus a few weeks ago and had wanted to go, but had forgotten all about it. What a dip. But I was in luck. Will had two tickets, and one had my name on it if I wanted it.

Yeah I want it. The milk and cookie could wait.

Their description of the event:

Missoula’s three up and coming production groups join forces to explore what can happen when love goes wrong. The Cigarette Girls, Bellatrix, and Bass Face productions invite you to the Symbiotic Circus. Explore jealousy with a tango dance, passion through burlesque, and broken hears with circus arts.

An old school vaudeville show that offers a theatre of the bloodied heart presented with the soulful music of local band Burlesco.
This symbiotic circus event is presented in the historic Wilma Theatre, which was built for Edna Wilma, a professional performer, self -exiled to the hinterlands of Montana for love. This event is offered to appease the ghosts of the past and bring a little Pagan to Valentines Day. 

The circus did not disappoint. It was moving and emotional. To watch our incredibly talented community of dancers and musicians perform for a full house was to be a part of something special. They emoted without abandon on that stage and we received their gifts like sponges. They synchronized beautifully. They made us laugh. They almost made us cry. We gasped when they fell from aerial silks, and clapped when they stopped just short of the floor. There was a lot of trust up there on that stage, and it was palpable throughout the theatre. The audience was engrossed and engaged, and if you were there you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

I left there feeling blessed by the kindness of a cookie and an extra ticket, and in absolute awe of the performers who were not afraid to show us what human beings are capable of. You just have to watch, and you have to be willing to be surprised.

And this should come as a surprise to no one: the cookie was so good.

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