After waiting in a very long and slow moving line, sometime after 9:30 PM (the show closed at 9 PM) I was standing in front of KharyPayton, King Ezekiel from The Walking Dead. Khary was taking several minutes with every person.
He was still energetic and extroverted at 9:30 PM. He was inclusive and welcoming and gregarious. And he is a hugger.
Not being a hugger, I tried to refuse. I typically say something like, ‘that’s okay. I’m all sweaty’. Then I’ll offer a hand to forestall the hug. I was able to get out: ‘That’s o…’ and then his smile hit me. His arms were extended wide open wide. He was not asking. He was commanding. He stepped closer and then his arms did a big wrap around that spanned my backpack and enclosed me into this royal presence. I could not say ‘no’ to his Majesty.
It was not a short hug. It was not a mere formality. Nor was it a pretense of friendliness. It lasted 5 or more seconds. It was done with strength and warmth and brotherhood.
He hugged me good. I liked it.
He let go and I had a big smile on my face. The aches of 3 hours in line on concrete and barely moving vanished. His again welcomed me to his side and we chatted. I mentioned that my wife loves Shiva and I knew that soon she would be sad. (Yeah, that’s a spoiler). He looked sternly in my face and in character said that that day has not yet arrived and she should rejoice in the present. (Maybe I embellished a little but the gist is correct).
He signed with flair, large and confident like royalty should. Then he added a paw print and Shiva’s name. I must admit to be being thrilled. I was very happy. This is one of my favorite experiences as an autograph hound.