… that’s what it said on the cake we had to throw away tonight. It was barely touched; only a small slice had been removed from the full sheet that smelled distinctly like cotton candy from where I stood. The three of us put the convention to bed, moving the last of the equipment to their origins or putting them into the storage at the hotel for later pick-up. ConOps seems eerily quiet to me right now, sitting here at my desk and remembering the weekend.

I took a quiet stroll through the park-like block of Buchanan north of Japan Center, looking around and smiling quietly to myself. As the artificially-lit Pagoda came into view, I felt the nostalgic strings of my heart pull tightly against my brain as little bubbles of memory reminded me how for a couple of days in September, this was our Japantown. I will always carry with me the experiences of this weekend; the events that happened, the new friends that were made. I will remember with clarity the party at the DOT, the Karaoke challenge that I’m not sure I won, and the commune that we created here for all the local fans who attended.

It was far from perfect at times, but it was worth it. Though I lament the tasks I accept at times, the fruits of our labors are rewards in themselves. I don’t think I could have asked for a better team of people to work with.

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