This is the part where I start to reveal how much of a nerd I really am. The particular argument featured in this short story actually happened. I changed the characters and moved the Renaissance fair across the country, but Josh and I really went to a Renaissance Fair, and we really got in a stupid argument because we carpooled with my family, and they were ready to leave before he was.
After a lot of yelling, tears, and unnecessary drama, we both realized how stupid the entire argument had been, but it did inspire me to write this story. "Mountains" is a story about making mountains out of mole-hills. You can't do that in marriage if either of you want to be happy.
I guess it's all about choosing your battles. There are always going to be things that get on your nerves; things that are annoying, unfair, weird, disgusting, or whatever else. But you have to ask yourself this: Does it really matter? Or can I learn to overlook it, so we can avoid an unnecessary fight that will lead us nowhere?
The stupid jester would not get out of my face. It was hot, I was tired, and I was sick of all the societal rejects that peppered the Spotsylavania Renaissance Faire with their overly-prominent bosoms, striped tights, and codpieces galore. But I had to be patient. We would leave soon enough. Why did Galen like this so much?
Jordan, my 16-year-old sister, poked me in the arm. I turned to look at her.
“How much longer do we have to stay here?”
I bit my lip. This was important to Galen. His family loved this kind of thing, and they had frequented Renaissance faires, Civil War reenactments, and Scottish festivals every summer since he was very young. This was the first summer he wasn’t able to do it with them, and he desperately wanted to share it with my family instead. The problem was, he had also been working since we had gotten married to earn my dad’s respect, and watching my father stare at a foppish dandy with a bright doublet and feathery hat with disdain,
I would guess this whole experience would set Galen back a few points in Daddy’s book. People who enjoyed this sort of thing did not gain Daddy’s respect. Galen should’ve known that by now.
“Galen just wants to stay until after the joust,” I said.
Jordan rolled her eyes. I couldn’t help but agree with her. Secretly, of course. I wanted Galen to think I was having a good time.
“He’s not even here,” she said.
“He went to get food. He’ll be back.”
I leaned against the fence, wishing they had known about AC back in the renaissance. At least this faire had a lot more shade than the one he took me too last year, I thought, trying to find a silver lining. That was something. The tents filled with odd fairy trinkets, swords, and leather merchandise weren’t half as miserable when they were blocked from the sun by the big chestnut trees.
Unfortunately, the joust, which we were now waiting for, was not in that area. It was in an open, dusty, very hot arena, surrounded by stinky honey buckets and sweaty men and women in five-thousand layers of velvet. We were leaning against a crude fence, and my mother had just been complaining about splinters when she wandered off to get some wine. I wondered if she knew it would probably be spiced.
I spun around and spotted Galen. I hoped Daddy hadn’t heard him call me that, because I was Alex. Not Alexia, not Alexandria. Alex. Daddy had given Jordan and me boys’ names so that we would each have a better chance of becoming a CEO of an important company, or president of the United States, or ruler of the world, or something like that. He would have been appalled if he had heard Galen calling me something so feminine.
I tried to smile at Galen as he bounced toward me with a grin on his face. I hadn’t been able to talk him out of wearing his woolen kilt to the faire, but at least he wasn’t the only one dressed up. With his blonde hair slicked back and his white legs sticking out between the green and red fabric and the white socks pulled up to his knees, he was quite the specimen. Good or bad, I hadn’t decided yet.
“I bought us some haggis for the joust!”
My eyebrows crinkled together as I watched him near me with an offensive pair of red and white-striped paper boats with what promised to be a greasy and probably disgusting lunch inside of them, even if it wasn’t actually sheep’s pluck encased in stomach. “Are you serious?”
As he caught up to me, he swept my auburn hair off of my shoulder and kissed my cheek, laughing. “Nah. Just a couple of corn dogs I got from ye old concessions stand down yonder.”
I tried not to cringe. “Great. But that isn’t terribly historically accurate. Are they even allowed to sell corndogs at these sorts of things?” Last year a little kid on a pony with a stick for a body yelled at me for like a minute because I wore tennis shoes instead of crackowes. It was especially irritating because crackowes had gone out of fashion by the time the English Renaissance had really gotten into full swing anyway. I wanted to yell at the kid to get a real horse and lay off my Nikes.