Finding Clarice, p. 24 Entry for August 24, 2007

A few minutes later she left the shop, eager to get started. No matter how she'd tried to fool herself, how she'd pretended disinterest to her father and skipped mentioning the possibility of seeing an old acquaintance to her mother, her main goal for the morning was to locate Ray. Last night memories of him had kept her awake for a very long time and took over her dreams when she did sleep. She wouldn't want to do any more than take a peek. She wouldn't want him to notice her or realize who she was. After all, she had her own life, very different from his. She was a major financial player, at least whe was when she had a job. He was an actor, maybe not even that, a street performer.

She passed food booths opening for the day and display tables set up by sidewalk vendors. She looked at everything there was to see as she walked by but she didn't spot any clues to where Ray might be. On a stage maybe. She'd passed some but no one was using them yet. As she turned onto another street blocked off for pedestrians, she noticed a group gathering. More people were stopping as she approached. No one seemed to go on past. She checked the street sign, Willamette Street, the spot Maggie mentioned.

When she was close enough to see, there was Ray, standing in the street facing an older man. Without seeing to move, Ray's face melted until it matched the man's expression; his body copied the man's posture.

Suddenly, without looking away from the man, he reached up and pulled a fist-sized red ball from his ear and tossed it to a little girl on the edge of the crowd. She tossed it back and he caught it. Then it was gone. The girl rushed into the street to look. Not up his sleeve, or in either pocket when he pulled them out to show her. Not on the ground behind him. She couldn't figure it out. The watchers clapped, liking the skit.

The older man began to walk away and Ray was instantly beside him, mimicking the walk, every movement. When the man left laughing, Ray turned back and swaggered to the middle of the street with his thumbs hooked through his wide green suspenders. She'd have known him anyshere by the warm fluttery feeling in her insides when she watched that sexy swagger.

He was good. Clarice was enthralled. She moved to the back of the crowd, leaned against a bank building, and shifted so she could see more. Absorbed in his performance, Clarice had forgotten to be careful. Suddenly he was in front of her, closer than she'd expected and looking straight into her eyes. "Hello, Clarice. Good to see you. Hang around so we can talk. Okay?" He winked as he smiled for her and then he was on to the next stunt. Her insides skittered. He'd reconized her as quickly as she'd known him. http//jo-brew.blogspot www.thecreswellchronicle

2007-08-24 22:57:44 GMT
Jo-Brew is now a columnist for the Creswell Chronicle.

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