It felt strange, he was here again this year not so much with the expectation of seeing her, not after his unsuccessful efforts to find her again the previous year, but so that he could say to himself that he had at least tried.
It wasn't that he had been unable to get her out of his head, only that she, and that swirling topsy-turvy night kept popping into it at irregular intervals, mainly when he was slouched at his desk feeling dully frustrated with the way things were going.
He hadn't realised the girl was one of the players, which was odd, he should have seen her the following evenings when he looked, he would surely have seen her if she had been on the stage?
Wandering aimlessly through the market, the heated bodies of the crowd warming him just as much as the drink, he found himself back down at the side of the stage by the transformed fountain, its bowl now full of burning logs, spitting out sparks and the wonderful woodsmoke smell.
She wasn't on stage now, it was the kid juggler and another man, clad in red and black motley, tossing firebrands at each other; he watched her absence resignedly thinking his mind was playing tricks on him but as he turned to return the beaker to the bar, she appeared from a lifted flap at the side of the stage and their gazes snagged.