The Traveling Man
by Jane Harvey-Berrick
I was ordinary. Nice. He was extraordinary. And he wasn’t always nice.
Moody and difficult, brilliant and beautiful, Kes scared me and he protected me. He could be incredibly hurtful and incredibly thoughtful. He wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for me. He challenged me, he took me out of my safe little box and showed me the world could be magnificent. He was everything I wasn’t.
Aimee Anderson is ten when the traveling carnival first comes to her nice little town. She doesn’t expect her world to change so completely. But meeting Kestrel Donohue puts her life on a different path.
Even though she only sees him for the two weeks of the year when he passes through her home town, his friendship is the most important of her life. As a child’s friendship grows to adult love, the choices become harder, and both Kes and Aimee realize that two weeks a year will never be enough.
Kes’s ‘costume’ hadn’t changed much in the last couple of years. He was still barefoot and bare chested, but this time the new assistant, Sorcha, was hanging over him, wearing a skimpy bra top that looked two sizes too small, and a floaty chiffon skirt that made her legs seem to go on forever. I hated her.
I could see why the Cirque du Soleil agent had been surprised by Kes’s age. He looked like a man; Sorcha was all woman, and I looked like a little girl.
When the drumbeat started, the small arena stilled, a few whispers rippling around the ring. And then Kes galloped out holding two flaming torches, with Sorcha riding behind him, clinging to his waist.
My jealousy was so bitter that I wanted to throw up, but the audience clapped and whistled.
She slid gracefully to the ground, her bare feet sinking into the sawdust. Her focus was on Kes as he galloped around her. He hung from Jakey’s neck as he planted one torch to Sorcha’s left and the second to her right, so her wild hair seemed to catch fire.
And then the show began. Kes stood on Jakey’s racing back briefly, then leapt to the ground.
He juggled the flaming torches, ran, jumped, and somersaulted onto and from Jakey’s back again and again, always fluid, always in motion. I held my breath until my head spun. He wasn’t born for an office or a desk job; he was born to thrill, to make you gasp, to stop you in your tracks so you’d have to ask, how did he do that?
I lived in London for over 10 years and have a love affair with New York. It's only since I have moved to the countryside, that the words have really begun to flow.
I live in a small village by the ocean and walk my little dog, Pip, every day. It’s on those beachside walks that I have all my best ideas.
Writing has become a way of life – and one that I love to share.
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