Heyday (noun)

Photo by Cyrus Crossan via Unsplash

Definition

  1. The period of one’s greatest popularity, vigor or prosperity.

(Ref: Merriam-Webster Online, Word of the Day, 5 September 2020)

Use it in a sentence

In her heyday, she could rival any act in any circus. It wasn’t just the knife throwing and the sword swallowing, or her prowess in juggling burning clubs whilst balancing a dagger on her head. It was the fact that she could do all of that, and then follow it up by drinking a gallon of beer in one beat, starting a fight between patrons, and then smiling coquettishly at the end of it all, as grown men lay about the floor, bloody and dazed, for her sake.

Delilah had held her own in the ring. All she had to do was crook her finger at the ringmaster, and everyone knew exactly who was leading the circus. He would invite her into the ring, bow graciously and then leave with a flourish so that she could start her act. But one afternoon she gave him a wink and a wolfish grin that was perceptible even from the back row, and invited him to stay – to be her volunteer. She turned her head to the side, then dropped her chin and looked long and hard at him. If there hadn’t been children present, Delilah would not have been able to resist a shimmy, or a hip thrust, or something equally suggestive to encourage the ringmaster. In any case, she need only stand there – her curvy figure spoke for itself.

She had pressed him up against the knife throwing board, her hands on his chest, and enjoyed every flinch, hard blink, and nervous smile. The crowd had loved it, whooping with an energy and hysteria none of them had ever seen. He played along and thanked her on stage, as the audience stamped their feet and begged for more. But the row they had later was terrible to behold. The strong man had hovered outside of her caravan, ready to intervene if he had to, and others milled around to see what would happen. They all heard them shouting at each other, hurling insults and recriminations. Something smashed dramatically and the strong man took a step forward, but the trapeze artist stayed him. ‘Hang on a minute,’ she told him. And soon enough the shouting died down, and the soft murmurings and gentle moans that followed made the crowd quietly melt away.

To look at her today, silver hair framing a pale face, walking frame perched beside her like a companion Labrador as she sinks into a giant sofa, you would never think Delilah was the darling of the circus world in 1936. She gets up now and then, to shuffle around the garden, stopping to admire the bluebells, and picking the daisies she was told she absolutely could not pick. She’s always back in time for cocoa, one particularly large daisy tucked in behind her ear and her chin thrust up at the nurse when he frowns at her. Her blue eyes have never lost their defiance. If you look long enough into them, you can see the crowd reflected in them, cheering and shouting her name.

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