You Have to Make the ‘Wrong’ Choice

How Was I to Know?

Dearest Rachel –

I know that Doc used to read these letters to you from time to time; I wonder what he would think about the fact that he’s getting mentioned twice in two days, especially considering that we’re pretty much on the opposite point of the calendar from convention season, when he would normally merit attention.

That again, considering what I’m going to be talking about, he’ll probably not be all that thrilled.

I actually don’t remember which convention it was – from year to year, those annual events tend to run together – but there was one not all that long ago when he ran into us as things were winding down for the weekend. For whatever reason, he had a bag full of Doctor Who swag – I think it may have been from another convention a month or two previous – that he decided he had no use for, and would we be able to give it a good home? While you weren’t much for merch as a general rule, you were a big fan of the show, after all, and had no desire for such things to go to waste – you were more than happy to take them off his hands.

The only problem is, we didn’t have any more use for the items than he did, and as a result, they wound up languishing in our basement for several years. After your passing, of course, I concluded that I hadn’t nearly the interest in the show that you did – and worse yet, even thinking about it just brought back painful memories – and so, rather than keeping them, I decided to donate them to Goodwill, under the assumption that there was likely someone who would be interested in them who would give them the good home that Doc was hoping that we would. If nothing else, the fact that most of the items were in their original packaging would make them a real find for the average thrift store shopper.

At least, that’s what I think I did; between the dumpsters and the many trips to Goodwill, I lost track of what I did with what. I only assume that’s what I did because the stuff was in fairly pristine condition – and the fact that the bag of merch is no longer in the basement.

But why would I even be looking for this stuff at this point, anyway? you might ask.

Well, it turns out that our niece is a big fan of the Doctor these days. She’s even one of the organizers of the Doctor Who fan club at her college – you would be proud of her, to be honest. Not that this was a complete surprise; she used to talk about the show from time to time, and I think you made a few attempts to educate her in the lore of the show. But lately, she’s really gotten into it. She really enjoyed the convention ticket I offered her on Thanksgiving, even going so far as to arrange for a photo op meet-and-greet with both Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred (the 7th Doctor and his companion, Ace) while she was there – you might recall after having been there how Daniel told us he’d only be interested in returning if both of them were guests? Yeah, looks like we all missed out on that.

So, yeah, she’s following in your footsteps, if only to a similar extent since your departure. But that being said, it occurred to me that all that swag would be a great little addition to her Christmas gifts from us – or for her birthday, for that matter, since that happened just yesterday, and the family will be celebrating with her later on this month – if only I could find any of it. And since I can’t, I have to conclude that I got rid of it by donating it over a year ago.

Hey, how was I supposed to know it was going to come in handy like this?

You Woulda Told Me

This is the sort of situation in which you would, as the expression goes, not have said ‘I told you so,’ but you would have been abundantly clear that this is one of the reasons you keep everything; you never know when something would be important for one purpose or another.

I still have your blue cloth bag, indicating that it’s ‘bigger on the inside,’ but its inside no longer contains those knickknacks and tchotchkes. Rather, it holds old costumes from so much farther back; stuff that likely would never have been marketable, even at a secondhand store. Once I found that one blobby blue alien outfit from your high school days, which had gigantic eyes (with cups behind them) at about chest level (which would have precluded you from telling the boys who might have seen you in it, “my eyes are up here”), I knew I wasn’t going to find any Doctor Who merch in the bag.

Look, given what little we did with those things, the fact that you were more into the show than I ever was, the fact that anything having to do with the show was now that much painful for me to go over, and the fact that the stuff was in a condition that someone would want to shell out money for it all made the decision I made at the time a reasonable one. It didn’t cross my mind that our niece would ever be interested enough to want them someday – and had you stayed with us, I don’t know that you would have been necessarily willing to part with them for her sake (or if the idea would have occurred to you) – so I didn’t think to keep them around for that purpose. Of course, now I realize that I may have made the wrong choice.

But sometimes, you have to do that, in order to get your life together. You might have told me I should have kept them, and presently had a good chuckle over the fact that I’m now regretting my decision. Still, I’m sure I can come up with a few things for her, regardless. If nothing else, I can probably assemble a copy of our collection of episodes and audiobooks for her entertainment (assuming she ever has the time to peruse them; what with finals coming up this week, she’ll be hard pressed to do so before the Christmas season, which has its own level of busyness). And of course, her mom has found a few things for us to pay her for and give under our own name – including some Doctor Who swag of her own.

Still, it would have been nice to have had all that stuff for her. But this is the sort of thing that happens when you’re trying to decide what to keep and what to get rid of, and that stuff had no attachment at the time. At least it isn’t lost, like all those episodes the BBC burned to save archive space… someone probably bought, and is enjoying, this stuff. It’s just not Joanna.

Anyway, what’s done is done. All we can do is to look forward, now. With that in mind, keep an eye on me, honey, and wish me luck. I’m 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.

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