TEARS OF A CLOWN

He was four when the arguments began.

His happy and idealistic childhood soon darkened. Gone were the encouraging words from his parents concerning his flair for dressing up and acting as one of his many 'characters'. Instead, it was replaced by weary commands to get himself to bed, a peck on the forehead causing him further confusion as he stumbled off towards bed.

Why were Mummy and Daddy fighting?

Tears dripped down his face. Was it his fault?

His mother moved out when he was six.

He didn't know how to function without her. His father simply sat at the kitchen table and cried into his hands.

Eventually, his father recovered enough to enrol him into a Drama club that kept him busy. Beer bottles soon stacked the fridge, and as they depleted, Ian found himself asking every time he went off to Drama Club;

"Daddy, where the bottles going?"

His father would smile sadly at him in response. "To bottle heaven, kiddo."

He only understood his dad's response a few years later, and he went to bed that night with a wet face.

The divorce itself was granted the day before he turned the grand old age of eight. His birthday party consisted of his father getting drunk and both sets of his grandparents fighting over who will take him out for the day. The fact that he had school the next day didn't help either.

At school, everyone's parents were together. They had the perfect family unit, two parents and one to two children. Well, apart from a few families who had extra children and how odd it was that Rose's father never seemed to make an appearance, but everyone had two parents together and it made Ian weep in misery.

So he hid behind the jokes and stupid faces.

He was a clown, according to his teachers.

He was a clown, according to the Prefects.

He was a clown, according to his friends.

He was a clown, according to the Headmaster.

And he was a clown, according to himself, a clown with tears streaming behind the big grin.