November 7th, 2004

French Maid

My First Long-Distance Lover


So this wild-eyed circus freak showed up at the games booth I ran for a vendor to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival my second year out there.

I had starting working out at MRF the year Liam dumped me, to give myself something fun, interesting, and social to do with my summer that didn’t involve pining over the 5 years of my life that was just gone when he left. Brock was a dread-headed hippie covered in tattoos, with half a pair of glasses, bones in his ears, and a porcupine quill through his nose. Considering the setting, he seemed relatively normal to me at the time.

He made a beeline straight for me, and the conversation our eyes communicated to each other belied anything we were actually saying with words in our first polite chat.

He was riding the festival “circuit,” which meant traveling from town to town working for various medieval faires around the country, hawking his daily post within the games company I still work for, which carries a national presence. It’s the modern gypsy life of a carnie: living out of a tent, showering at gas stations, eating whatever you make enough money to buy, and then packing up and doing it all over again somewhere else. But there’s a strong sense of community within this collective of people who live this way… they come to depend upon one another to watch each other’s backs, and keep a lookout against the bullheaded actions of others who are not as respectful to their way of life.

When I met Brock, he was just coming from his home in Denver, and it was his first excursion on the road. He was 24, and I was 29. Brock said that he’d come to Minnesota looking for something — most specifically, for family. He’d been adopted from the Twin Cities when he was only a baby, and hoped to find a connection to his lineage.   What he found instead was a completely different kind of family, on multiple levels.

There was an intensity between us that shames most other encounters either of us had or has had before or since… we shared an instantly profound bond and a passionate love affair.

He had a commonlaw wife and child, who lived at their home in Denver. They had been together for five years, and officially had an open relationship. The birth of his child, though, had not jolted him into any sense of parental responsibility, the way it does with some men. Still figuring himself out, he’d never been much of a father, and when he got the itch to hit the road, they had an understanding between them that allowed for it, with her continuing to care for the kid much the same as she always had. When he met me, he wanted me to become part of their lives, also, so he decided he would take a break from the circuit, and introduce me to his pseudo-wife, Molli, and their daughter, Cassidy.*

There’s a lot to tell about what happened then, but I can fill you in on all those details later.  We’ve known each other for more than six years now, and there are a lot more Brock stories of interest in my past, though they will also have to wait for another time.

I still see him breeze into town some years, and we get as close as circumstances warrant when he's nearby. But for now, that’s plenty enough for my taste, until the next season rolls around.

(*If you’d like to learn about their history together before I met them, the three of them are primary characters in the web comic Queen of Wands; he is Felix, and she is Shannon).