On Cosplay

These are not normal people. I looked around the space of the Convention Center, noting the colors and the boisterous laughter; people shouting to each other as they all stood in a line waiting to go up the escalators. So many people. That one there. I’m pretty sure that’s from a movie I’ve seen before, but the title of it escapes me. Either way, the guy looks like he walked right off the set. The time, the money, the energy that went into the costume must have been phenomenal.

The next person that walks by waves at me, a smile on her face. I return the wave, my own smile shy and reserved. I recognize her as well. She is from the cartoon I watch every Sunday night. She looks just like her character, even sounds like her when I hear her speak to someone. How long did she practice that, or perhaps it came naturally?

I take a bite of the sandwich in my hand, watching, watching as so many characters, so many people go by all of them playacting as if it were a great world of pretend. A world where the mask you wear is recognized by all. Here, there is no anonymity. Or perhaps it is, in fact, the best kind of anonymity. Known, but not really known. Seen, but not really seen. Hidden beneath a disguise as though a super hero. As I finish my lunch and dust off my hands I start to make my way through this bright and colorful crowd.

No sooner have I managed to throw my garbage in the waste bin when three girls come running up to me, all full of squeals and joy. “Ohmigod, ohmigod,” one of them exclaims, hands fanning herself as though she might pass out.

“Can we take your picture?” one of the others ask.

“You’re my favorite person in the whole world,” the third states. It seems a little excessive. After all, she doesn’t really know me, but I nod and smile. Of course they can take my picture. I pose for them and, squealing, they snap their pictures.

“Thank you!”

“Thank you so much!”

“You’re amazing!”

My smile this time is less shy. “Thank you. So are you.”

“Can we have a hug?”

I nod and give them their hugs. Perfect strangers, arms gently wrapped around each other to be mindful of the clothes worn – time, money, sweat, blood and tears went into these clothes – not a stranger’s, but each their own. They give one last wave and run off, titters of laughter and excitement as they move on to the next specimen to photograph.

These are not normal people.

These are my people.

********

A/N: This was written on a prompt to write in first person starting with the phrase, “These are not normal people.”   This isn’t exactly me – the character was fictional in my head at the time of writing, but it’s close enough that it could be. 🙂

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