The Last Masque

Dearest Rachel –

When I used to do those convention reports to be posted to the Fanfiction Mailing List way back when – some twenty years ago, you might recall – I would take pages of notes as each entrant strode across the stage. Most of the names meant nothing to me or you, since there were always plenty of series (and all of the video game) that we were unfamiliar with; and to be honest, it often seemed that the MC was reading the names for the first time as well, proving that they were just as unacquainted with the game or show. It made it hard to be too invested in each contestant, even as we could admire the craftsmanship, or the cleverness of a skit and its dialogue.

In that respect, cosplay competitions haven’t really changed all that much from those many years ago until today. The only difference is that this year, I’ve given up on taking pictures, because well, what’s the point? How do I explain who this or that person is to you, or to anyone else, when I don’t even know who these people are supposed to be?

I know it was one of the perks of sponsorship that you appreciated, being able to get priority seating for the Masquerade competition (especially since we’ve not been able to squeeze ourselves into the ACen revue in well over a decade, due to its popularity), but it doesn’t hold the kind of appeal to me. Of course, it may just be a continuation of the fact that I’ve no one to crosstalk with anymore; it’s astonishing how much that missing ‘audience of one’ truly saps me of any enthusiasm.

Or it may just be that I can’t time my arrival sufficiently well. After having grabbed dinner at the hotel, I may have taken a little more time than I should have walking back to the convention center, arriving after the doors had been opened to the general public. As a result, I found myself about halfway back from the stage. Sure, I could take everything in, which wasn’t always guaranteed when you were in the front row, but I did have four rows of people to try and look past and through. Let’s just say that, even if I wanted to, it wouldn’t have been terribly conducive to taking any decent photos.

At least, once the contestants put themselves through their paces, I no longer feel the need to stick around to find out who won. If that disappoints you, well, you could have said something.

Besides, I need to leave the air conditioning behind yet again. The outdoors, once the sun sets, is quite lovely, even as humid as it is (which can’t be helped, as the veranda is right by the river, you know) – there’s a mild breeze to offer respite from that. It’s certainly better than dealing with the frigid air inside.

But even that becomes a bit much as time goes on, and I find myself swapping places between inside and out, trying unsuccessfully to find a truly comfortable temperature, until the judging finishes, the winners are announced, and everyone pours out into the hall at once, thus raising the temperature to a more tolerable level… oh, and I can take some pictures, after all.

Don’t know if you’ll recognize any of them; maybe Daniel will, if he ever checks this out.

There’s but a couple of panels that stir my attention, but upon checking the descriptions in the guide book, I decide they aren’t necessarily worth staying up for, and head back to the hotel.

I’m not the only one leaving, either; there are a row of cars in the parking lot waiting to head out. Evidently, once the Masquerade is over, that’s the end of the convention for some people.
Between the darkness of the hotel not having switched the light on their sign, the dirt-and-gravel path upward to the place, and the sound of the crickets chirping, it feels like returning to my cabin at camp after the last of the evening’s activities. Which is kind of it, although the accommodations are a bit more luxurious.

I also take a moment to pack up the food I brought from home that I didn’t need (well, how was I to know?); with any luck, I’ll be able to get everything down from the room in one go first thing in the morning. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a parking space closer to the convention center for tomorrow’s activities.

That being said, honey, wish me luck; I’m probably going to need it.

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

One thought on “The Last Masque

  1. I recognize the pair in picture #6 … the Candlestick and Featherduster from “Beauty and the Beast”. 😊


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