Note: If you haven't read Part 1, start HERE.
You can’t imagine my joy when I first entered the gym. I had never seen so many jugglers. The first person I noticed was a young woman named Cindy. She was effortlessly juggling 5 clubs in various patterns. I was in awe. A man named Bill came up and introduced himself as the person in charge of the group. He asked if there was anything in particular I wanted to learn. Passing. I had originally been inspired to juggle by the Flying Karamazov Brothers, a juggling quintet who do some fancy passing patterns. I definitely wanted to learn how to pass. He gave me some basic lessons and then set me to practicing with another juggler who was learning passing. Note: Neither of these guys is my husband. Looking back, I realize I was one of a very few women jugglers. Most likely I was also the youngest person in the group. It says something about my innocence that I couldn’t imagine any of the men in the gym had any interest in me other than as a fellow juggler.After practicing, the jugglers went out to eat. Two of them escorted me to the subway, because by now I was so confused about where I was I wouldn’t have found it alone. Streets in the Village twist around a bit, and they have names rather than numbers, so it’s easy to get lost. It was very late, so I guiltily called home from the station and steeled myself for the consequences.
I think my relationship with my mother changed a lot from that day. I was her baby, and because of my asthma she worried about me more than usual. We came to an understanding, and I agreed that from now on I would call when I was leaving and I would have someone walk me to the train.
At this same time, my father had promised to take me to the NY Renaissance Festival. I had known about it since high school, and had only been to it once. This year my father had agreed to take me on Sunday, the very last day of the festival.
The Thursday before the festival, I went to the gym to juggle, my third time at the juggling club. Afterward, we went to a Chinese restaurant called the Hunan Balcony. I sat next to Bob, the guy I had been practicing passing with, and Bill sat across from me. At some point, Bill asked if anyone was interested in going to the Renaissance festival for the last weekend, because R had comps. I said I was going. R told me he worked at the festival as an environmental player (walks around with a cockney accent). In my poorest imitation of a cockney accent I asked, “So how does one get to work at the Renaissance fest?” He told me. In great detail. And all the time I just met his piercing blue eyes and listened to his deep voice.After we ate, we stood outside the restaurant and I asked if anyone could walk me to the train, because I had promised to come home earlier. (Early being a relative term, as it was close to 11.) R volunteered. I remember exchanging looks with Bob for a second. He had driven me home the week before, but he hadn’t volunteered to leave the group early tonight. As I walked to the train with him, there was something very interesting going on. I couldn’t tell you what we talked about, I only remember the feeling of energy that built up around us.
Of course, my father took forever to leave for the festival. By the time we got there, there were only a few hours left before the fair closed. My father and I watched the “Wooing Game” and hung around for “Trial and Punishment,” where environmental players accuse festival goers of outrageous crimes and mete out their unusual forms of punishment (like eating gummi worms). I scanned the crowd and saw R. standing on the opposite side of the stage. Or was it him? I have the misfortune of not being able to recognize people if they are out of place or wearing costumes. I also assume no one will recognize or remember me. After the show, my father wandered off to get some food and I wandered off to look at jewelry. That’s when R. grabbed my hand and started to take me off to the stocks!
Children were playing with the stocks, luckily for me. I had brought my clubs, so he suggested we pass. I apologized for my bad throws, explaining I was left handed. Imagine my amazement when he told me he was a lefty as well! We were also both the third of three with an older brother (first born) and sister! By the time my father ambled back, R. had rushed back to his next scene and I was floating!