So. The obligatory School Days post. The last huzzah, as it were. Part of me wants to be cranky grumpy bitter Kelly, but it is superseded by weepy nostalgic Kelly. I blame hormones.
I won’t miss the Faire of last summer, not remotely, but I will miss the Faire I loved so very much. I’ll miss the Faire where I met and fell in love with barleymash, where he asked me to marry him, where I made many wonderful friends. I’ll miss the Faire where I learned to fight, to joust, had a chance to dance and sing (though I am accomplished at neither), to be pretty, to play dress up, to be a hero. I’ll miss rehearsals: those nine hour marathons of scene-work and sword-fights and hours spent on the dry, dusty joust field. I’ll miss marking tilt yard games and I will miss riding passes. I’ll even miss walking the list with the damned car-door shield.
Is this really it for me? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve learned to never say “never!” (unless, of course, you’re involved in a fight on the Chess Board and someone insists you yield), but I also need to be open to other possibilities.
School Days were pretty much what one might expect. The kids this year were, overall, the best behaved and most enthusiastic we’d yet had. I was busy enough getting out of costume and into armor - and vice versa - and warming up Oso that I had considerably less time on the fields than I might have done. The time I did have with the kids was great (mostly pre- and post- joust and pre-Chess Game). My Chess Game fight was a lot of fun; I like smallsword. Okay, we had a lot of saber moves mixed in, but what the hell. Still a hoot.
Wednesday’s jousts went fairly well; the games were fine. Nick won both of them, dammit, 12 points to my 11 both times. In Joust 2, I whiffed on a quintain. Let me repeat that. I whiffed. On a Standing Quintain. Yeah. The passes were decent, though. We had a couple of double hits in each show. I was worried about being out of shape, of hitting too far inside, of pulling my shield... you know, being a sucky partner.
Things were better on Thursday. And by better, I mean BETTER. Games were a tie for both shows (12 points in Joust 1, a near-perfect 14 in the second (curse you, N. A. and your damned low tossed ring!)) There were five passes in each show. The final pass was of course, the fall pass for whoever was designated the loser of that joust. As a general rule, you don’t hit your opponent on your own fall pass; you just worry about getting your shield to present as clear a target as possible. In both shows, we had four double hits. FOUR. Nothing wonky, nothing inside. Just well placed, strong hits from both of us. Frankly, Nick would have hit me on his fall pass if I hadn’t faded my shield (and if I’d known he was going for it, I would have kept it out there for him!). And we were so locked in in prepping for the passes... our ground crew was top-notch the entire show; be it in games or passes, they were there for us whatever we needed. Yes, vampcurse, this means you! It is rather cool, too, that Nick and I are so locked in, even if one of us starts a bit early, no worries. The other will adjust. Rarely do we need to, though. We lock in from across the field, lift lances, and just GO. It is a joy to joust that lad.
Yeah. That is damned near as good as it gets. You all know my self-confidence issues, so when I say the following it carries a bit of weight: I am a good jouster, damnit.
Yeah. I said it.
*whew* I think I need a lie-down.
So, Thursday, Joust 2: it was my fall. I had a rather nice roll-out, gathered myself up for the ground fight, won that... turned to the Queen and bowed, a sword in either hand, as she declared the proceedings concluded... and suddenly couldn’t breathe. I rose after she had departed and began to leave the field. Then, as I set foot on the wooden path beneath the portcullis, I turned to look back at the field... and damned near burst into tears. As it was, I tried to choke them back. Several dear and lovely people came and embraced me, gently urging me backstage as it might look as if I had been injured.
In truth, I was a bit heartbroken. That field has been my home for the past five years. It had been mine, and I was stepping off of it for what might be the very last time. Ouch.
I need to make this summer worth it. I need to hike, to nurture my garden, to write and submit said writing and not be afraid, either of failing or succeeding, and to learn and grow. I need to find out that I can be interesting in my own right and not just because I can ride a horse with a lance and a shield. I need to know that there is more to me. But I also need to know that what I’ve been these past years is important, too, albeit in some small way.
**separate Joust retrospective post to come; I know you're all on the edge of your seats!**