Thursday, Jun. 13, 2019 @ 11:48 pm
“Shannon? Can you please stand up? I thought I saw you here this morning.”
The CEO squints from the podium and scans the room. I stand up, and the room turns to look at me. A few hundred pairs of eyes. This is my professional organization’s annual AGM.
Later, the room is dismissed for a networking break. I walk past a banner and then veer back when I see that they’ve put me on the banner. I laugh and pull out my phone and take a selfie with it.
I am putting my phone away when a man walks up to me.
“That’s you on the banner, right?”
He asks me about my role at work and about the company that I work for. We share stories and I ask him about his career. He is hesitant in some ways but also intense. He’s smartly dressed and has an air of creativity around him, which stands out in the room of mostly engineers.
In the midst of our conversation, the president of the organization spots me, rushes over, hugs me, and proceeds to tell me how my award speech last fall brought her to tears. She carries on across the room, and I turn back to him.
“Tell me about this award,” he says.
As we are talking, I’m trying to figure out if his talking to me was random or intentional. I talk to a lot of men at these events, but the way that he is talking to me feels different.
We part ways, and during the next session I catch him looking at me from the far side of the room.
The room turns over again, and when I return for the luncheon, I find myself taking the empty seat next to him. We talk a bit more.
I am called up to present an award. I walk up onto the stage and perform my task. I walk down off the stage and back to my seat.
“That was great,” he says, “Good job!”
At the afternoon reception, I find myself behind him in line at the bar. I joke around a bit with him; I’m in a great mood. He orders a beer. I order gin.
The event is breaking up. I’m saying goodbye to various friends.
He walks purposefully towards me.
“Can I have your card?”
I pull one from my bag and hand it to him. He reads it immediately, flips it over to look at the back. He says something that I miss because of a crashing chafing dish. I nod dumbly.
I Google him as I’m riding the bus home. I find his personal website.
He paints huge abstract canvases.
I was right.
He is an artist.