Preparing to Leave the House

Dearest Rachel –

I never really considered just how involved this process was of putting ourselves together for a convention weekend. All I ever did was to pack the computers and hard drives and my own set of clothes and toiletries, and call it good. There’s so much else that has to be taken care of before we go – before I go.

And I never really thought of it until now.

Now, I know you had notebooks full of lists of things to bring to various events: the island, your parents house, conventions. At the moment, I can’t seem to find them. It’s probably just as well – I wouldn’t be likely to follow them anyway.

For starters – and we never dealt with this before – there’s preparing a place for Ellen to stay while she watches over Chompers. Yes, yes, Daniel’s still here over the weekend, but I’m not entirely certain that he’s either willing or able to handle the old boy on his own. Between the two of them, I certainly feel much more comfortable; and giving her a place to stay so that she can deal with him during nighttimes and mornings will make that a lot easier.

So yesterday, between Jan and myself, we got everything removed from the bed in the kitchen yellow room, run it all through the laundry – using plenty of bleach (another thing I really didn’t know how to use properly) – and once everything was dried off, laying it back out on the bed.

Starting off by stripping the bed…
…and finishing with it made. Not sure what to do about pillows – we didn’t have any on the bed Jan and I uncovered it. I’ll have to check with Ellen as to whether she’ll bring a pillow or whether I need to put one or more together for her. I also need to hunt down some pillowcases, but I’m pretty sure we’ve got some in one of the linen closets or the other.

As far as what to bring goes, well… obviously, there will be less than half of the usual luggage. I’m also not bringing all those anime plushies, except for Daddy-Cat. No fear honey, he’ll make his usual Sunday appearance as part of the final rounds through the dealers room and Artists’ Alley. It’s possible that people will recognize him, and ask me where you are. I’m not sure I’m looking forward to that explanation.

At some point, I probably do still have to go to Mitsuwa in order to get some Japanese snacks to share with people while I’m there. I’m not like you; I don’t feel comfortable just going up to people and offering them this or that. Even in Anime Central, where vendors weren’t allowed to sell food, it felt weird to be handing out Pocky to the artists as we went around the Artists’ Alley.

Heck, considering me and what I look like versus you and what you looked like, I’d probably be self-conscious of coming off like some creepy old man offering candy to a little kid (and make no mistake – just about everyone there is a kid in comparison to me, especially these days. With you by my side I didn’t look or feel quite so old, because you never carried yourself that way. But when it’s just me on my own… yeah, I’m an old, lonely guy) – somebody would be looking for my unmarked white van stashed behind the corner after a while.

At least I picked up this – at Costco, of all places – in case I feel like eating in the room as opposed to going out to a restaurant every single meal – although I’ll probably leave at least half of these behind for Daniel. He was disappointed that the last noodle shop we went to didn’t have udon, so this might make up for it…?

On top of everything else, I probably won’t even be packing swim trunks or a towel (which you would consider to be heresy or blasphemy – or both). What’s the point? I didn’t bother to swim, and hanging out in the hot tub is just getting away from everybody – and I’m away from everybody now as it is. Really, I’m actually going to have to mix it up with everybody a lot more than I used to – than we used to. We could afford to be insular as a couple; we had each other, and didn’t really need a clique to hang out with.

I keep thinking about all the things that aren’t going to be there at this convention, just because you aren’t. There will be probably a lot fewer pictures of cosplayers, if only because I might miss some people that you would’ve caught and brought to my attention. And I probably won’t be going to too many of the shooting sessions. Again, all those pictures of people dressed up as the Doctor, for instance… that would have appealed to you, but since you’ll never see the pictures, why bother taking them? I mean, I guess I should upload a whole bunch in one of my letters, but that’s about it.

We used to crack jokes, and make sotto voce snarky comments to each other as certain things went by. I’ll try to make those sorts of observations, and let you know about them here, but it’s not gonna be the same. With the two of us side-by-side, I would say something, you would reply, and we could create a humor cascade in real time. That’s not possible anymore.

And you know, these are the sorts of reasons why I am looking for ‘Megumi.’ I have heard from a few people that I’ve started this search too soon, that I’m trying to fill my life with somebody else, when I shouldn’t need anybody else. And no, I don’t need another person in my life; I’m a perfectly functional human being on my own. But a lot of joy has been sucked out of my life now that there’s nobody to share the little experiences of life with as a peer and companion. It was one thing when I was about to accept my fate as permanently single some thirty-plus years ago. It’s something else entirely when – having experienced such a wonderful time with you during all the ups and downs of life, of your support and cheer, your faith in me (and in God), your effervescent exuberance, your ability to make friends with every stranger that crossed your path your… joie de vivre – you have been taken away. It’s a crushing loss, and I want it back. But seeing as I can’t get you back (and how selfish would it be of me to demand it, even if it was possible?), I need to at least start looking to find someone like you. Assuming she even exists, and is willing to be with me like you were.

Of course, for now, I’ll try to see what I can do about enjoying the moment as they come. I’ll certainly be spending some time in the recharge room, probably playing Cards Against Humanity with some of the guests –hey, it’s one of the perks of being a sponsor, why shouldn’t I take advantage of them? – taking in a few more panels than we used to, watching a bit more anime (well, watching any anime in the screening rooms would probably be more than we did on a regular basis at the conventions). I’ll probably go to a few room parties, too.

Don’t worry, honey. I’m not gonna spend any time looking for Megumi there. Yes, it’s nice hanging out with people that share a common interest that some of our friends here at home don’t. But for now, that’s all it is. I can’t expect more, at least, not yet. I’ll enjoy the moment, and leave it at that. If something – or someone – falls into my lap, well, that’s another story. It has happened before, but I can’t count on that. And I won’t.

I’m going to try to have a good time. As always, wish me luck.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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