Behind the Table

Dearest Rachel –

More stories from the convention:

The recharge room was virtually empty – which apparently has been the idea the whole time, go figure! – so, with no one to speak of to hang out with, I find myself making my way back down to the volunteer booth.

The gal down there gives me the hairy eyeball; there haven’t been enough volunteers at this point. Every department has been asking for help, and she has no one to send them. That’s understandable, but why look so mad at me? Trust me, you don’t want to scare off more volunteers.

She finally sent me over to the marketplace I guess that’s what they’re calling the dealers room these days to stand guard at the ‘hangover doors.’ I think she means ‘overhang doors,’ like the type to the trucks back into for deliveries. So I’ll be working loss prevention, fair enough.

But when I show up at the AI booth, Robin tells me that those doors are closed, and there shouldn’t be any need for anyone to guard them. Furthermore, when she sends me to the front door to relieve the pair that are currently checking badges, they say they just started, and have no need for relief. Eventually, she puts me to work behind the table where they’re selling the old convention shirts, and distributing the shirts for pre-registered sponsors. I can’t technically sell anything – at least, I can’t handle cash – since I’m not staff, but I can do all the other waiting on customers, including picking sizes and confirming sponsors’ names.

As with registration, it’s fairly cheerful work. As long as I’m dealing with people, it’s not as frightfully lonesome here. However, Robin does offer me a photograph from some previous convention:

I don’t know when it’s from, but I’m grateful to her for presenting it to me. She seems concerned by my tearful reaction (she’d realized back when I had registered only for myself that something was up), but I assure her that I truly am thankful for this one more memory.

Meanwhile, last year’s shirt is selling pretty well – and by that I mean the one from 2019. The 2020 shirts are the ones even I can’t get with my sponsorship because we didn’t register in 2020 (since we correctly ascertained that AnimeIowa wasn’t going to be a thing that year). So I keep busy for the better part of an hour.

The booth also functions as the lost and found. So far, we had a shirt claimed, but a fairly large purse is still sitting around here, wondering where its owner is, and what it might have done to offend her, that she would abandon it like this. We eventually turn it over to security, and they bring it up to the bridge. Only five minutes later, a girl comes by, asking after it. What are you gonna do? We send her up to the bridge.

Robin offers to sign my time card, and let me go early, but I’m having none of it. If I spend too much time alone, it’s going to get to me; I have to be where at least some action is, or else I’m going to think too hard about you, and that’s not good for me. I stay until the market place closes at eight.

Just as we do, an artist shows up, having driven here from Minneapolis today. She’s missed out on the afternoon’s sales, but at least she’s good to go for tomorrow – as long as we can find her badge. Turns out, whoever is Robin’s superior stashed them somewhere, and we can’t find them… until just as she shows up.

We leave it to her to check the newcomer in.

More cosplay as I leave the marketplace:

I’m not gonna lie, the Kiki and Tombo pair looked cuter when they were just casually talking with each other (as couples do), but you have to ask permission to take pictures, so they posed for me. It’s okay, but still…

And yes, that casual affection they clearly have for each other is a thing that continues to eat away at me with every loving pair I pass by. I should be happy for others, but it’s still a reminder of what I once had and no longer do. I wonder when this will stop being a thing.

Back at the volunteer booth, there are no needs to be filled for right now. There is talk of needing someone to check IDs for the late night panels, but that – if it happens – is a story for another time entirely.

For now, I will have to get back to you. Love as always, honey.

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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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