Monday morning, bright and early, I do my makeup, style my hair, and get dressed in the most presentable outfit I packed for the week. I catch an Uber to Mary Ashford’s official office and walk in through the entrance with perfect posture and a smile on my face. No one just looking at me would be able to tell how overwhelmingly nervous I am based on the energy I’m projecting.
As I walk in, I notice a gorgeous indoor waterfall-style fountain. I see images of the top models in the game right now wearing Ashford Designs. I also see a stunningly pretty receptionist seated behind the front desk. Even the staff look like models here?
“Did you have an appointment?” the receptionist asks me with her lips pursed as I approach her counter.
“I… do not. But I was hoping to get just a minute of Mary Ashford’s time.”
“Do you know how much a minute of her time costs?” the receptionist scoffs.
I lift up my portfolio to show her why I’m here. “I have a few designs I think she might want to see.”
“Mary is extremely busy. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to meet her without an appointment.”
“Okay… well, can I schedule an appointment?”
“Sure. Let me just check her schedule and availability.”
The bitchy receptionist begins scrolling through a screen on her desk computer.
“Looks like her next available time slot for an appointment is… four months from today.”
“Four months?!” I ask.
“Yeah. I mean unless there’s a cancellation before that. But there’s already a waitlist in place for potential cancellation fill-ins.”
“Am I allowed to wait for her here?” I ask.
“Um. Sure. I guess so.” she says with a shrug and a glare.
She waves me towards the plush couches near the beautiful indoor planters.
I take a seat at 9:30 AM and end up staying there until the office is getting ready to close down for the day at 5 PM.
“You’re going to have to go now,” the receptionist says to me.
“Mary hasn’t even left yet. Is she still back there?”
“She has her own private exit connected to her office.”
“Wow… alright. Well, I guess I’ll be back tomorrow."
"You want to come sit in here and waste your time all over again tomorrow? Be my guest."
"I plan to. What was your name?”
She scrunches her nose up at me and says, “Kate.”
“Okay. Nice to meet you, Kate. I’m Nora.”
She doesn’t acknowledge me trying to make myself known and starts gathering her things to go home for the day.
After my Uber drops me back off at my hotel, I lay down on the bed and ponder if I’m doing the right thing. Maybe I really am just wasting my time.
“You are not wasting your time,” Tony says to me via FaceTime. I have the phone faced towards me as I lay sideways onto the pillows, feeling exceptionally low.
“You weren’t there," I tell him, "You don’t get it.”
“You knew this was going to be challenging,” he says, trying to reassure me. “You didn’t go all the way to California to throw in the towel after one day.”
“It’s just embarrassing,” I groan. “If I really do go back tomorrow, I’m going to look desperate. Pathetic.”
“Alright, Miss Ego. Why don’t you fly on back here to Indiana then?”
“Yes. You. You’re letting your ego run the show here. You going back tomorrow proves that you are trying. It doesn’t mean you are desperate.”
I know he’s right. It’s just hard to swallow. Nevertheless, I swallow my ego and I swallow my pride in order to listen to Tony’s advice because his advice is actually solid.
His advice is so wise and he’s only a couple of months older than I am. It’s actually really attractive…
I arrive at Mary Ashford’s office once again on Tuesday morning. Kate lets her know I have returned and am waiting in the lobby. I sit there trying to remain hopeful but the entire day passes me by without any luck.
I return again on Wednesday. Fail.
Then again on Friday, I arrive at the office and take my usual seat.
I hear the eloquent voice of none other than Mary Ashford on Kate’s speaker phone from the desk at around 4:52 PM. I know their office is about to close in the next few minutes for the day.
Mary asks, “That same girl is still out there?”
“She sure is,” Kate says in somewhat of a mocking tone. “She’s been here all week.”
“Persistent… Ah. Tell her she has two minutes of my time.”
Kate’s eyebrows raise in shock. She nods me over to the office door and buzzes me in. Is this really happening? I feel as if I’m walking through the pearly white gates of heaven.