The room overwhelmed Richard. The room was even more grandiose than the pictures made it out to be. Moreover, the people… he felt the air around him get denser as he entered the room. It was as if the area had its own gravity, or perhaps it was the outward pressure asserted by the big egos filling the room. Regardless, he knew one thing — he didn’t belong there.
He felt it in his body, in his bones. He knew that by being here, he was being inauthentic to himself. But, leaving now would be discourteous to his host. Who was she? He hadn’t even bothered to ask. He didn’t even know her name. He took a quick glimpse at her name tag.
Audrey Hills. That name sounded familiar. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he knew he had come across that name before. Was it just that her name was Audrey, and it was reminding him of actress Audrey Hepburn?
“Is everything alright?” Audrey interrupted Richard’s thoughts. “You look… You look a bit lost.”
“Yes, it’s fine,” replied Richard. “I apologize. This room… it’s very dizzying.” He chuckled a bit. He was just delusional. That’s all.
“Yes, the event is something to behold,” Audrey gleefully responded. “Please, enjoy yourself! These people are all here to meet new faces! It’s the Silicon Valley spirit, if you will.”
“Oh, I’d rather not. See, I didn’t want to seem rude, and turn down your invitation, but I feel this… This,” he said, flailing his arms to indicate the entire room. “This isn’t who I am. I’m more of the quiet accountant, Ms. And I’m quite content with who I am.”
“I apologize, Richard,” Audrey was in shock. She didn’t expect this sort of response. From her experience, people usually reacted in the opposite. They were dying to get past the doors to the event, and she had given this man the keys do just that. And yet, this man says he did not want any of this. She tried not to show it, but inside, she was devastated.
Unfortunately, faces have a strange way of betraying us at the moment we are most vulnerable. Audrey’s eyes began to tear up. And Richard did not fail to take notice. He didn’t know how to react. At that moment, a thought crossed his mind — his pocket square. He took it out instinctively, and began to dab the tears off of Audrey’s face.
Audrey soon came to her senses. She pushed back Richard’s hand. She then turned around, and left the room. Richard didn’t do anything. He just stood there, staring, and realizing he may have been a bit rude. He decided it was perhaps best for him to call it a night as well.
He turned around to leave. As he was making his way to the lobby, the thought of Audrey never left his mind. He felt as though it was somehow his fault that her eyes had teared up. When he had reached the receptionist, he walked over, and left his contact info.
“Who should I give this to?” asked the receptionist. That was a very good question. Richard didn’t think that one over. He just thought that if he left a trace of his existence, somewhere in that hotel, Audrey would somehow be able to reach him.
“Would you mind just… keeping it at the front desk? For maybe a week? Just in case someone asks for my contact info.” What a ridiculous excuse, thought Richard. And with that, he left Rosewood. He left the place he knew he probably would never come back to. The place that housed the people that could make him great. The people he had turned his back to. The place where he brought a woman to tears.