The Renaissance Faire

I am going to tell you all something very few people know.

Once upon a time, I had my first and only summer fling.

I had just gone from “dumb freshman” to “sophisticated sophomore,” so I’d been aware of the idea of spring and summer flings. I had never had one, simply because I was undesirable to have a fling with for several reasons, but part of my young heart had decided that if I ever were to be offered a chance of fleeting love,  I would do what any of my favorite movie protagonists would do; seize it by the horns and ride it for as long as I could.

One of my best friends, Amy, was celebrating the fact that she was finally legal by taking a whole slew of us to the Renaissance Faire. She, and most of her guests, had slept over at her friend’s house due to the fact they’d been in marching band and had a game the night before. My parents being the overprotective people they were, there was “no way you are going to be sleeping over at a house that we don’t know with a bunch of people we don’t know. Are there going to be boys there? Sweetie, you could get raped.” So I was driven the next morning to this girl’s house, and I then realized I was without costume, meanwhile everyone else was busy getting dolled up for the day. Accepting my fate, I sat in the kitchen, dunking brownies (that they apparently made the night prior and then didn’t eat) into my coffee and wishing I’d had the foresight to at least bring a time-period-looking blouse.

The mother of the girl whose house this was took one look at me and asked, “You’re not dressing up?”

“I don’t have a costume,” I replied simply. She got a determined look in her eyes, ran upstairs, and came back down with an authentic traditional German dress. It was beautiful.

“Here,” she said, thrusting it into my arms, “Go downstairs and try this on in the bathroom. Have Amy zip up the back.”

I tried to refuse her kind offer – I was notorious for getting stains on everything – but she refused, and I did as I was told. Downstairs, I was met with a slew of people I had never met, along with a few that I’d met in passing, and an Amy who was already dressed as a beautiful gypsy. She was talking to someone whose face I could not see, but I had never seen someone with hair that long, and haven’t since. It was past her knees, straight, and dirty blond. Amy saw me over her shoulder and waved, and her conversational partner turned around, and turned out to be a male, not a female.

Amy gave me a hug, introduced me to her conversational partner, and ushered me into the bathroom after I explained what was going on, and as she helped me into my dress, I asked, “Amy. Who was I just speaking to?”

And she replied, something mischievous coloring her voice, “Oh him? That’s Josh.”

“Amy. Amy. He looks like a living incarnation of an elf.” Because he did. His facial features were elf-like, his hair covered up his ears, making me assume he was hiding elf-length ears, his hair was an elf-y blond, and his eyes were an unnatural blue. “Amy, help.”

And she laughed. She does that a lot. She has a nice laugh.

“Amy, this is no time for laughing, he is an elf, and I do not have a boyfriend, and he’s probably too old for me.”

She zipped up the back of my dress and sent me out to show everyone how nice I looked.

Josh, of course, was the first one to see me. He turned and looked as Amy announced that my transformation was complete, and he was the first man to ever lose his breath looking at me, and probably the only one since.

“You are damn beautiful,” was all he could say. And he continued to stare, and smile, and shake his head. He did this until a few of the girls came in and announced that I was, indeed, very pretty, and ushered me back upstairs to get ready to leave. As we milled about and ate and waited for everyone to finish getting ready, Josh sat on the couch, with a girl named Lara behind him, braiding his hair into one giant, thick french braid. The only way I can describe the difference in the style was like in Disney’s Tangled. It wasn’t quite as thick as that braid, but arguably as long.

We rode in separate cars; I couldn’t drive, so I road shotgun in Amy’s car with Lara, a guy named Ford, and another girl named Chris. The entire way, I was torn between wishing we’d had room for Josh and being so glad I was in a different car from him.

He was by my side for much of the day. It was… odd. Up til that point, the only boyfriend I’d ever had was one that walked in front of or behind me, and never tried to draw my attention to him. Josh was entirely different. He was outspoken but polite, and chivalrous. If we couldn’t carry on a conversation, he would join the one going on around us in the group, and then invite me into it.

The point of the day where I knew I was in for it, however, was after we’d sat down to watch Amy’s favorite act of the entire Faire; the German Brothers. These two men would make illicit jokes and rap, and I’ll admit, they’re hilarious. There is a point in the show when they make their audience “more German through osmosis.” They have the crowd repeat a few German phrases before they really begin their show to make sure everyone “enjoys the show as much as possible.”

“Now, what what every German man needs is a schnitzel. Now, in Germany, schnitzel is not only a food, but a term of endearment for your favorite lady. So men, I want you to turn to your closest lady and say, “Hallo, my schnitzel.”” And, being the closest woman, Josh inevitably turns to me. Now, I’ve been with Amy’s brand of person long enough to know how to joke around. I am fully planning it to say it back to him, and we’d laugh and joke about it, and it would all be in good fun. But I turn to him, and he looks me dead in the eyes, with the slightest playful smile on his face, and does not break eye contact with me as he says this. And, okay, if a gorgeous elf suggests to you that you’re not only beautiful, but that he also probably has a thing for you, you don’t argue with that. You roll with it, and you possibly swoon. I tried my hardest not to, but I’m pretty sure it was at least a little obvious that his line had the desired effect on me.

While we were inseparable through the park, when it came time to head home, we went back into our respective cars. It was on this ride home that Ford and I talked for a bit, and he then asked for my phone number, making this a day of many firsts for me. We arrived back at the house that we started at and began watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox. My mother came to pick me up, as I had an obligation the next morning. Josh and I have never spoken since.

My one and only fling lasted a day, and though I’m happy where I am now, I often wonder what would have happened if it had lasted longer.

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