I spent entirely too long on this, but they’re worth it. I suppose.
Let me tell you how I met these clowns.
I met Melanie in sixth grade. We had Language Arts (English) together. She wrote a short story about a homicidal blade of grass. It was love at first sight. A couple of years later, we bonded over Sailormoon.
She lived on one side of the district line and I on the other, and while she went to one high school, I went to another. We lost touch until she called me out of the blue one day, and spent a long telephone call gushing over our favorite anime.
When I was sixteen we went to Otakon together. It happened that one of Melanie’s classmates was there, and she introduced us. Her name was Kelly. When we parted I promptly went to work forgetting she ever existed and saying “Who?” whenever Mel brought her up in conversation.
Senior year, I wanted to go to Anime Central but I didn’t want to fly to Chicago alone. Mel and I had gone through enough “Kelly who?” scenarios that she finally had etched a presence in my brain, and so I e-mailed her and asked if she wanted to go with me. We’d never really hung out before then. It was one of the best trips of my life.
So we graduated. Kelly worked at Suncoast, and as I recall Mel and I took every opportunity to go visit her there. Suncoast was loaded with anime you see, and at really good prices. But Suncoast was failing around this time, and in the fall Kelly and Melanie got jobs at Circuit City. One of Kelly’s coworkers from Suncoast also got a job there (I was the odd one out, working at a nursery and crafts store down the road). I think Kelly might have introduced us before, but I didn’t know her – she went to Kelly and Mel’s school and was a year behind us. But one night Kelly and Melanie got us all together to hang out.
And with Rachele, our group was complete.
There are two takeaways from this story.
1. Anime is magical. I’ll not hear a word otherwise. Speak against it in my presence and I’ll have you drawn and quartered.
2. I love these guys. We’ve gone to lots of cons together, ate a lot of crap and drank a lot of booze together, conspired and plotted against the world together. They annoy the hell out of me sometimes, and I’m sure I annoy them (and if I don’t, I should). But this is one of the few relationships in my life that I consider worth working to keep.
Also, do you like how I arranged us in order of skin complexion? #racist