Preface: What you are about to read is utterly unbelievable. It is dependant on nigh impossible odds at key moments, timing down to a single minute within a whole weekend and my inhibitions about talking to anyone and everyone. But every word of the following story is true.
The Saturday morning of PAX saw JP, Stephen, Claire and myself getting up early and into the convention centre ahead of the worst of the crowds. We wanted to do our own thing for a bit, and split up, heading to our various destinations.
We met up again at noon and were all heading across the brightly lit skybridge that connects the two main halls when Claire stopped suddenly. She bent down and picked up a tiny object. As she held it up, we realized that it was a single earring. It was a tiny glass-blown yellow octopus. The little guy must have fallen off of someones ear, but apart from his wire hook being slightly out of shape, he was otherwise intact.
We had a quick glance around to see if anyone was walking around looking at the ground, but didn't see anyone. Claire commented on how pretty the earring was, and how upset she would be to have lost it, then carefully put the earring in her pocket and we continued on our way.
Skip to 6pm that evening, and the main halls are closing. Hundreds of attendees are flooding out of the various exists and down the stairs on their way to evening panels, food or the gaming rooms. We're back together once again, and leave through the exit by the skybridge, one of the busier traffic areas. Everyone is walking along, chatting to each other. There are dozens of bodies within arms reach, and most are talking over each other. It's almost impossible to hear what any one voice is saying.
As we head for the first escalator down, my ears tune into a single word: earring. A girl about two bodies ahead and one to my right is telling the guy she's walking with how annoyed and upset she is that she lost her earring, and how she'll never be able to replace it. She's looking through her handbag for her remaining earring.
Can you see where this story is going?
I ask if it was a small earring, and she turns and says "No, not really, but it was unusually heavy."
Now, I don't have much experience with earrings, and the glass octopus looked like it would fit a "small" descriptor.
"Ah well", I reply. "Probably not the one we found then."
By now Claire, walking just ahead of me, has heard what we're talking about, and reaches into her pocket. She pulls out a closed fist, and opens it in front of the girl, revealing a tiny glass-blown yellow octopus.
Everyone involved stops dead on the spot, and, not to be too romantic about it here, but the entire place seemed to turn silent for just a moment.
The girl removes her hand from her handbag, holding a tiny glass-blown yellow octopus dangling from a wire.
"No. Fucking. Way."
We all have a good laugh, and chat briefly on the way down. It turns out the guy she was talking to is her husband, and they had just celebrated their first wedding anniversary two weeks previously. They had travelled to Vancouver Island, where they had found a man selling tiny glass-blown jewellery he made himself. The octopus was, literally, a one of a kind, hand-made piece she had gotten from her husband on their first anniversary.
PAX. It's a magical place.