02 February, 2004

Familiar, and yet....

Once again, the world changes....

I wander into my alternate universe, wondering if I still belong.

For the first time since I was destroyed (uplifted, cherished and rebuilt), I transformed into Mimi. The makeup was easy, the costume second nature, the persona barely a breath away from myself.

Yet the whole thing was akin to putting on a set of clothes that don't fit.

Or belong to someone else? Is that it? Is Mimi part of my past, rather than my future?

Perhaps it was more like wearing jeans again after months in maternity clothes. What are these strange seams, these buttons pressing against soft underbelly flesh?

It begins well. The first person I see is one of my favorites, pulling into the parking space next to mine. I am made up and costumed, and so greet him, hug him, without speech, which he does not expect. We enter together, and I follow our contact's instructions as to where to stash unused props and coats, since he asks and I do not.

Mary Ann has hired for this party many of my dearest, nearest and oldest cohorts. Ginny will arrive later. This is a party, perhaps a birthday celebration for a six year old. I am often shocked at the excesses of the exceedingly wealthy, though reluctant to deny the proceeds thereof. There are nearly as many of us (performers) as there are of them (guests). I have been in situations like this before, and carefully tread the line between entertainment and annoyance. Overexposure is a constant concern.

I take a break and voice this aloud to Mary Ann's handsome husband Tom, who sympathizes with my boredom: "Yeah, try being Shakespeare! They want me to quote sonnets at them!" Tom, who is dyslexic and would rather read sci-fi than Shakespeare anyway, who will memorize when he must, but can improv circles around any topic likely to arise in polite conversation. "I can't wait til Steph gets here and I can do some sword fighting." Not your normal water-cooler conversation, unless your water cooler is a hose behind the joust arena. Normalcy is evidently relative.

Lauren creates fanciful face painting. Her training in graphic arts shows, shines beautifully. She works with exquisite, top quality supplies: little girls are aglitter and bejeweled atop their temporary artwork.

The second shift filters in. Opening shift consisted of Queen Elizabeth, an armored jouster giving historical demonstrations of the craft and wearing of protective gear, a harpsichordist, a mulletted magician doing close-up magic, the aforementioned Shakespeare, and Mimi. We are already too many for this small crowd, this enclosed room. But more arrive. Greg "Yo-Yo" Beatty, Bob with more close-up magic, Ginny/Gigi, Jonathan Strum the Troubador, aka John DuRant, and Stephon, not doing really big magic in a very blue shirt, nor geekstunts as Swami Yomahmi, but here to engage in swashbuckling swordplay with Tom. Steph looks different. Has he cut his hair? I think I see his ears.

RenFest has skewed my perception of manliness.

After half an hour with double coverage, my shift ends. Though some folk are sticking around til the event ends an hour from now, I take my leave, curiously weary, moreso than I expected on a two hour shift.

The first person I saw is the last person I bid farewell, standing on tiptoe to embrace him. "You take care," he murmers as my fingers dig into his shoulder.

It was a good beginning. Mimi lives.