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Sometimes, it's a nice thing to be forgotten. When you're forgotten, you have time to do other things. Sure, you could try to get someone to notice you, to get some attention. Or you could also think. Or slip away without anyone noticing. 

 

First, there are the thoughts in her head. There's self-pity: she's the victim; why should she feel bad about rejecting Carol. And there's regret: saying no was stupid, and she is an idiot for ever refusing anything from Carol. There's reproach: how dare she return to her old ways of worshipping this woman. And there's annoyance and self-doubt: Jack is the most unintuitive guy in the world/maybe she should go to the Oak-Room. 

 

Second, it's a little saddening how insignificant she is. In the many minutes she's been there, only two people have acknowledged her presence. One, Richard, who was none too happy (maybe he thinks she wants forgiveness, which definitely isn't the case). Two, some lady named Genevieve. She should probably be honoured: who is she to have caught the eye of some actress? But she's mostly disinterested. How could anyone compare to Carol?

 

(And then she slaps herself for falling back on her worshipping ways once more. But she can't not connect everything to Carol.)

 

Eventually, the party gets dull enough that she'd rather be at her apartment than here, drinking beer and eating plain bread than watching others talk. Third, she slips out.

 

(Slipping out is easy.)

 

Any person normal enough might've stopped after a few blocks. Her heels, while low, leave boots much to be desired (for warmth and comfort). But there's also the adrenaline and the excitement and a whole bunch of other things that leave the pain bearable (though she'll suffer for it later).

 

(She's proud of herself for breezing past the waiter: the old her would never have dared.)

 

If she didn't know Carol, she might've assumed that her day was going dandy and everything was fine. When Carol brushes back a curl, Therese forgets to breathe.

 

(She's still worshipping Carol like a madwoman.)

 

When they make eye contact, everything else disappears, every person, every noise, every object. The air disappears, the floor disappears, the tables disappear. When Carol's face breaks into the slightest (but the most relieved and surprised and happy) smile, Therese feels like she's floating; she's a balloon and Carol with the string. She's being pulled towards her and she's bobbing closer willingly, unresisting.

 

It's like that day in Frankenberg’s all over again and the excitement of it all is so wonderfully overwhelming.