I’ll always remember—not verbatim, but paraphrased—the tweet I received on the Friday of New York Comic-Con 2011. It was basically: “Hey, are you still here? I’d love to see your Isabela in person!” from a twitter user named visiblespectre. I’d never spoken to him before, but, always eager to make new friends, I told him to come find me downstairs where I was spending time with some Assassin’s Creed cosplayer friends.
What ensued was the first of many lengthy conversations with my soon-to-be friends Kevin and Tracy, and their friend who I had actually met at PAX East earlier that year, Smitty. I was really impressed by how intelligent and mature they seemed—I’m so used to meeting very excitable people at cons that it was very refreshing to talk to people who legitimately wanted to talk. In fact, the ultimate goal of taking a picture of my Isabela only came in hindsight when we realized after a very long talk that we had never done just that.
I didn’t realize this at the time, but Kevin and Tracy would, very quickly over the course of the next year, become some of my closest friends—in fact, I would argue, among my dearest friends that I’ve made throughout my lifetime. We have our rituals and habits, most often spent eaten copious amounts of food in the East Village at our favorite dessert places and drinking far too much bubble tea. No really, far too much bubble tea.
Kevin and Tracy had done a bit of cosplay before then; if I remember correctly, Kevin had cosplayed from Black Butler at the very least, and I don’t remember if Tracy had done anything prior to then. But when they shared their plans to do Warden Bethany and Genderbent Merrill with me—I think this conversation took place really early on, possibly still at NYCC—I jumped on the idea encouragingly because seriously? Manrill? Fuck yes. And, as always, I offered to help, and we did spend many an afternoon chatting over bubble tea about where to buy fabric or body paint or how to handle x or y section of this costume.
Not that they needed too much help, frankly. I’m always thrilled to see how they tackle the problems they face. There’s something so delightful about seeing someone work on a specific kind of costume piece for the first time—a jacket, a bodice—hearing them talk it through and finally seeing the finished piece. As Kevin and Tracy can attest (and just about anyone else I’m friends with), I always run up to them when I see their completed cosplays at conventions and immediately start complimenting how they handled the trickier sections. I once actually got on my knees in front of Tracy (*wink*) to stare at the way she handled Anora’s incredibly non-intuitive bodice. And then the cycle starts again, and they share their new plans over bubble tea and I start bouncing up and down at the opportunity to watch their work unfold.
But what I always appreciate about spending time with Kevin and Tracy is and will always be the conversations. I don’t think there’s ever been a dull moment, awkward pause, or tense instance between us. This is a friendship, I am incredibly proud to say, that was born on mutual respect for each other’s insights and intelligence. And I’ve never felt like a third wheel spending time with them either, even though that seems unlikely when you’re the third person spending time with a couple who has been together for over a decade. But they are just that respectful, just that considerate. They are, to me, just about the epitome of Good Peoples.
As I think about leaving New York for Seattle and all the people I’m leaving behind, I think two of the people outside of my longtime friends and family that I most regret leaving behind are Kevin and Tracy. Their friendship is stabilizing, their support is endless. I’ve never regretted a single moment that we’ve spent gorging ourselves on amazing food and talking about musical theatre and video games, about problems and hurdles, about life and the universe and everything. I know I’m fortunate as a convention-goer that I have the ability to see my friends every few months at this or that convention, but it’s going to be really painful to not get that text every once in a while that they’re going to be in the city that weekend so am I down for some bubble tea?
The answer is and will always be yes, I am down for some bubble tea with Kevin and Tracy, no matter where we are in the country and in life. I’m impossibly grateful to have friends who I know, even after only a year of friendship, will stand by me. And I will stand by them.
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