I was sixteen when I met Arianne. It was May, right after my last day of school. I was at the academy, hammering Beethoven’s Sonata in C Sharp Minor, the Presto Agitato, for the second time that evening as fast as my fingers were allowed to, a perfect and insatiable tune. It wasn’t myself the one playing that day. It was what I liked to call the Monster. He was the one on the wheel everytime I started touching the keys of the piano, the talented one.
If you thought about it, this wasn’t really an academy; you know, all the squared rooms with a keyboard and two chairs each, small hallways and fragments of different tunes your ear gets every time you walk by. No, nothing fancy like that. It was actually the backroom of Sharlenne Justinne, a psychologist with a passion for music. Decorated as a children’s playground, the uptight dark wood piano gave a surreal touch to the small, unventilated room. Even the keyboard used for duets by the piano’s side looked out of place there.
As I finished playing, my teacher stood up and sat by my side. She had a long and colorful dress, a perfect match for the room, with clapping shoes a deaf could hear two blocks away.
“Can we start that Hans Zimmer piece you brought me?” I looked at her in the eyes, waiting for her to take her portfolio and hand me the piano version of Time.
“Do your hands hurt?” she asked me, and took my hands.
My pride and confidence would fall down a cliff if I answered her, and somehow she knew that. She stretched my hands, and I couldn’t contain my reaction to the immense pain I felt, as if small needles tortured me, and the pain scattered throughout my entire body. The Beast moaned inside me. His pride was hurt, and he had less patience than me. My teacher sighed.
“You know you can’t keep doing this to yourself. It could keep you from playing in the future,” she said.
Knocks on the door interrupted the lecture. Both my teacher and I turned our backs to see who it was.
“Look who’s here!” my teacher said.
There was a tall, skinny woman, whom I supposed was the mother of the eight-year-old girl by her side, both looking at me. She was skinny, and her olive skin was beautiful. Her straight brown hair gave her the aspect of a foreigner, and her big black eyes confirmed it.
“Arianne, come meet Brittany,” my teacher continued. Then, she looked at me. “She’s going to be your student for the summer.”
If looks killed, that would have been my death sentence. “Remember we talked about you giving classes in summer?”
We? I thought, as I remembered she talking about getting me into teaching, but I recall telling her I wasn’t sure about it. The Beast wanted to dedicate his time to compose his own pieces, as I was used to do. But she said children used special books and it was a “strict” method of teaching, so I didn’t have to improvise much. That was a relief. The Monster didn’t like talking much. If I forced him, he would leave and I didn’t want to be alone.
I smiled to the girl, but I guess it didn’t look so welcoming when Arianne hid behind her mother.
“She’s shy, but I’m sure you two would get along fine,” her mother smiled, trying for Arianne to come out from behind her.
“I didn’t know there was a party here, I would’ve dressed up,” a familiar voice that bought a smile to my face, announced Mark was already here.
I liked to look at my teacher’s expression as she tried to digest Mark. He wasn’t rude, but his comments were out of place most of the time. He was handsome, when you get all his eyeliner and piercings off his face, and the semi permanent color treatment from his Mohawk. Today was green, and it matched his eyes.
“I guess I have to go, Carol,” I said, taking my things. Then, I kneeled to face Arianne, whom popped up from behind her mother as soon as Mark walked out. “I’ll see you soon.”
She waved her hand and smiled. What a sweet kid, I probably won’t have any problem with her. I hoped. Inside me, the Beast roared. He didn’t like kids.
I walked out into the parking lot, where Mark was waiting for me. He smiled, playing with his tongue around his lip piercing.
“Your teacher hates me.”
“I think she hates your shirts,” I said, noticing the black shirt, “but nice one.”
It said It’s tourist season. Shoot them at will.
I like to think about the Monster as a beautiful white tiger. I wasn’t a cat person, but dogs were adorable. The Beast wasn’t. He was sneaky, rude, and selfish. He was the one who got me into trouble when I wasn’t able to control him. Somehow, he liked Mark enough to let him stay close to me.
Mark and I were an odd couple. Black and white, ying yang, whatever you might call it. He was four years older than me, but I was the “mature” one. Most of the time I had a plain tank top with my long black hair in a ponytail, but I had to wait for him everytime we were going to the movies, for the sake of what he called “a lifestyle.” He was my best friend, but most of the people surrounding me thought otherwise, probably because we spent most of the time in his bedroom, his personal studio as we called it. Almost pitch black, it was always a mess and a war zone to walk, if you didn’t know your way around it. The Monster felt food there, and it was the only place where he ran freely without me worried about trouble. Mark’s desk had a 27″ iMac, and a synch as a keyboard. I knew that, but you wouldn’t see it with all the papers, some shreds, others still recognizable, on top of it.
“You’ll like this,” he said, moving the computer’s mouse.
The screen lit up. There were two identical players in it, and Mark clicked on the left one. I smiled as I watched the newest cut of his short film. When it finished, Mark looked at me.
“I loved it! A Michael Giacchino’s song will fit perfectly.”
“Actually, I wanted you to do it.”
I said nothing. A five-minute score, it wouldn’t be that hard. Inside, the Beast gave me green light.
“Give me a couple days.”
Dinner with my parents was perhaps the worst time of the day, not only because they were always talking about world problems and how not to solve them, but because when they weren’t talking about that, they were talking about me and how splendid would be to get into the School of Architecture of Mayaguez.
“With your GPA and a note of recommendation from the National Honor Society, you have a secured spot next year,” my mother said, in between bites of chicken. I thought she would’ve choked if she knew I never went to a meeting. Instead, I painted a portrait of my teacher’s family in exchange for my name in a piece of paper. What a cheap shot.
I smiled and nodded to everything they said about their expectations, but the reality was, I wasn’t hearing them. The Monster was dictating the notes of the song for Mark’s film in my head.
“Actually, I was thinking… to apply to the Conservatory of Music in San Juan.” The Beast talked for me this time. People didn’t notice when it was me, or him.
Silence reined the table, and none of my parents looked at me.
“Music is your hobby. It’s time for you to choose a career,” my dad said.
But my mind was far away in between C, A, and F sharp, C minor, six by eight. The monster inside me was wide-awake, roaring. He wanted to get out for a walk, and I tried the very best not to shake in rage. Concentrate, Brittany. D, E, F sharp, C, A, three by four.
I skipped dissert to go to my bedroom and write the notes I already had in my head before forgetting about them. There was something so comfortable about writing in music language I couldn’t find writing any other way. I let the Beast take ahold of me, and he wrote like the wind, fast and free.
Five pages, that’s about it. I took my headphones and went downstairs to my digital piano. It was in the living room, surrounded by at least a dozen of my paintings. Portraits mostly, of people I admired the most. My parents had everything in a corner, and they referred to it as “Brit’s hobbies’ corner,” but I referred it as “Brit’s lifestyle.”
My parents were getting worried I wasn’t going do anything in life, but why? I had a 4.00 GPA, was listed in the National Honor Society, my hair remained brown, I had no tattoos, and only had two piercings on each ear.
It wasn’t like they were rolemodels themselves. When they weren’t working, they were in social gatherings, holding hands, telling everyone how wonderful is having a husband-wife law firm. As soon as the got home, each one got to its own room. My dad’s boyfriend used to visit him once in a while before my mom found out. The only thing she said was, “Are you trying to ruin our reputation?” So I guess now my dad went to boyfriend’s house, instead of inviting him in, since I haven’t seen him in a couple weeks.
Those are the things I wasn’t supposed to talk outside home. Sometimes, it was better to take my headphones with me, even inside my house.
I was one of the most talented students in the academy. At least, that’s what everyone around here said. I didn’t believe it, or better said, I didn’t want to believe it, because everything else I was good at, it was all a lie. Music was the only real thing. Plus they weren’t listening to me, really. They all loved the Monster. He was the one with all the Awards.
Next day, I went to Mark’s house and played the tune for him. He loved it.
“I’m planning on doing a feature, are you in?”
“Of course I am.”
My phone rang, and I picked it up.
“Oh hi, Brittany. I was making sure you’re still on for today,” It was Arianne’s mother.
“Sure. I’ll see you in fifteen.”
To be my first class with Arianne, it was… fun, actually. So were my second and third ones. It was the first time someone else got to play in my digital piano besides the Beast, but it was okay. Somehow, he approved as long as I had the next few hours dedicated to the Monster and I alone. Her mother, Alicia, always so polite and smiling, stayed the whole hour everyday. Arianne passed the first three songs of her book by the second week. I was impressed. She got the talent, or the discipline to practice. What was I doing when I was her age? I used to read a lot. My mother bought me every single book she knew was suitable for me. She told me once lawyers had to spend a great deal of time reading. Well, musicians needed to read a lot, too. Thanks, mom.
Most of the time, my mind was back in Mark’s bedroom and his synch. Next week we arranged to record a three instrument score for another of his short films, an old one from his first year. He didn’t tell me, but I knew he wanted me to write the scores for all his old films. I was excited about it. A piano, a violin, and a cello bounded to the Beast for the first time.
“Now,” I said, looking at Arianne’s notebook, “Let’s start with… Singing Frogs.”
She opened the book and, after a few seconds, she started playing the tune. It was a happy song, far too simple for me, but enough for my student. The Monster laughed at its simplicity. I felt his roaring, asking me to leave Arianne. My heart stopped for a whole second. What was going on? I guess he grew tired of her, or perhaps felt I wasn’t paying much attention lately. See, the Beast decided to let Mark stay because while he was around, the Monster was loose. But he didn’t have that privilege with Arianne. Lucky for me, he was inside his cage today.
Arianne caressed my digital piano, and played it perfectly.
“Wow, you nailed it, Ari. Good job!”
The rest of the class was pretty straightforward, but before the end, Alicia asked to talk with me alone.
“Is something wrong?” I asked. I tried not to be that obvious, but people tend to notice my blackouts from planet Earth into Musicland. That wasn’t going to change, so please, please tell me I’m doing a lousy job and you want another person to teach your daughter. Please, let it be it. The Monster wasn’t approving her. I didn’t want to lose him.
“Oh, nothing at all! You’re doing a great job,” she said. Damn it, too much for hope. “Actually, I was wondering if you need me here on every class.”
That was a surprise. She wanted me to be alone with her daughter… that’s… weird, but a good reason she’ll have for it.
“Eh… well, why?”
“You two seem to get along fine, and Arianne told me she likes you… To be honest, I was wondering if you could take care of her next week because I will be out of town all day and I don’t want her to miss the class.”
Dear Alicia, I was beginning to like you, now you want me to take care of you daughter for a whole day? I felt bad for her, but next week I had a compromise.
“If it’s a burden for you, I can find another way…”
“Oh no, it fine, I guess,” I said, before I could think about it. Damn my mouth and me.
Great. At least one of us was happy about it.
I had to find a compensation for the Monster now.
After both, Arianne and her mother, left my house, I started walking to Mark’s house. I took out a cigarette and lit it up. I didn’t know why, but thinking about next week gave me stress. What was I supposed to do all day with a little girl I barely knew? And how was I supposed to go to Mark’s house to record if she was here? Of course there was always TV. Judging by how amazing she was at the piano, I don’t think her mother would like her to watch cartoons all day, which was exactly why she would be craving them, and I could do anything I wanted while she was tuned up in front of the TV. Mark wouldn’t mind her in his living room. Good idea, Brit, you’re brilliant.
I knocked on Mark’s door. No one answered. Damn it, Mark, where are you? I knocked again, at the same time a black Escalator rode into the garage. It was his father.
“Hi Mr. Stank, is Mark home?” I asked him while he was getting out of the car, after dropping the cigarette and taking gum from my pocket.
Mr. Stank looked up his wristwatch. “I don’t think so. He left early today, guess he went to Charlotte.”
Ah yes, I completely forgot. He had practice today. Oh well, nothing else for me here.
“Thanks!” I said, with a wide smile.
When I was little, my parents taught me how to be in front of people, just like they did. How to always say “thanks” and “you welcome” and how not to talk when older people are talking and how to behave in any place you go. I always follow the rules wherever I go, but the Beast wanted to do exactly the opposite. It was a difficult task trying to calm him down. My mind landed again in how was I going to be able to take care of an eight year old, if I didn’t know how to take care of myself.
Arianne and her mother were at my house at eight in the morning, as Mark was leaving from it. He was excited for today, so he didn’t sleep, so he bought me breakfast. Alicia looked him with the corner of the eye, and I instantly laughed. He looked “normal” without his usual make up and crazy hair, but his piercings and shirts were recognizable everywhere. Today it said I sell crack for the CIA. Mark stopped, and smiled to Arianne.
“See you in a couple hours.”
The Monster approved it, but Alicia’s smile faded. I felt the urgency to explain.
“I’m doing some recordings over Mark’s, but don’t worry, Arianne will be fine.
Alicia nodded, and I saw in her eyes that she wasn’t completely sure of it.
“Hi, Arianne!” I walked toward her. With a smile, I kneeled and hugged her. Alicia smiled at the gesture of fake love.
She kneeled in front of Arianne and gave her a white stuffed rabbit.
“Here’s Fufu, Arianne.”
Arianne took Fufu in between her arms. Alicia kissed Arianne in the forehead, then she said, “Always obedient to Brittany, okay? And if you need something, just tell her. I love you.”
What a touching moment… not really. I never liked people who used to show too many emotions. In part because I was used of faking being nice and educated, and I knew that when something looked perfect, it really wasn’t.
I was left with Arianne and Fufu. I looked at the little girl, and smiled. But inside my head wasn’t a smile, but a silent lament from the Monster.
For the first few hours, Arianne loved the idea of watching cartoons, but when midday came, she approached me. I was in the dining table, finishing one of my black and white drawings. The Monster liked to draw, too.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
I looked at her, so innocent with Fufu hanging on one hand, and the other placed graciously on her hip.
That question would’ve been so stupid if she wasn’t an eight year old.
“You made all these drawings, then?” she said, looking to Brit’s hobbies corner.
“Well, those are paintings, not drawings, but yeah, I made them,” I responded.
“Can you draw Fufu for me?”
No Arianne. I don’t draw stuffed animals.
“Why don’t you try and draw it? It’ll be more special if you do it yourself,” I took out a blank paper and a pencil.
“But I don’t know how to draw.”
“I didn’t either at your age, but you need to start someplace, right?” I told her. I put the paper in front of her as she sat in the chair next to me. I put Fufu in the middle of the table. “Now, you need to draw everything you see.”
She sat there, in silent, drawing everything she saw in the stuffed animal. I didn’t pay much attention because I was working on mine, but half an hour more or less later, she told me to look at it, and I did.
It was a rabbit, that was for sure, but then again, it was a child’s drawing. No perspective, no grayscale. It was just a simple drawing, but it said more than anything I’ve ever seen. It told me of her innocence, of how beautiful was her life at eight years old. How beautiful was my life when I was her age. How simple and non sophisticated everything was when I was a kid. Now everything was appearances and nothing I really wanted. And the Monster dominating my every move, and my eternal struggle for him to stay calm.
On the side of the paper, with hardly recognizable letters, it said, “For Mommy.”
“Is bad, I know,” I heard Arianne say, as my eyes were tearing up.
“It’s not bad at all. It’s beautiful. Nothing that defines you will ever be bad, Arianne.”
“But not as good as yours.”
“Believe me, it is. It’s better than mine.”
The Beast was crying inside me already.
The rest of the day we spent it in the kitchen. I taught her how to make cupcakes, well, I probably taught her how to make a disaster in the kitchen, that two hours later, while the cupcakes were baking, we had to clean up. This girl was the definition of innocence, and pureness, and I was the monster trying to preserve that. I wanted to be remembered by this girl. For the first time the things I was doing wasn’t faked for anyone else to see. I wanted to do them. It was the same feeling as when the Monster took the wheel for the first time.
An hour before us leaving to Mark’s house, I received a text from him, telling me that the other two guys had cancelled in that moment. I sat in one of the kitchen’s stools and tried not to cry. Arianne noticed and sat by my side.
“Aren’t we supposed to go now?”
“It got… cancelled. We are staying,” my voice trembled, almost giving up to tears my frustration was calling upon. I grinned my teeth and closed my fists, and I felt the monster waking up inside of me again.
“Mom says when she is sad, crying helps her,” Arianne’s voice was innocent and pure.
I went straight to my piano and hit the record session bottom and I started to play. I closed my eyes and played, leaving my monster talking a hold of myself for a few minutes. It was a relief to had him running free without trying to ignore him or calm him down. I felt the caress of the keys against my fingers. It was the eternal running field of the Beast.
Finally, the monster went back to sleep again.
When I opened my eyes, Arianne was by my side looking at my hands, as if there were holy.
“Thanks for being my teacher.”
I looked at her with no idea why she said that.
“You should be a musician,” she said, touching the keys of my piano with her little fingers. “My mom tells me music chooses you, not the other way around.”
I stood silent. I guess Alicia was right after all. I didn’t choose the monster, he chose me.
After the piano lesson, Arianne told me she was tired. I told her to go to my bed. I was alone with a sleeping, perfectly tamed Monster. I smiled at the peace Arianne’s words gave me.
At night when Alicia came to pick her up, she found us eating dinner and talking about Fufu and how Arianne found him. He was lost in a toy store and Arianne picked him up. Somehow that story made sense to me. After all, she picked my pieces from the floor and made me somewhat whole again.
I served Alicia the remaining chicken and pasta I made, and she sat with us at the table.
“Why don’t you go look for mom’s surprise?” I said to Arianne, pointing out my drawing portfolio on top of my piano.
Arianne, obedient as she was, took her drawing from it, and gave her to her mother. Her reaction was quite indescribable, and unexpected. She held the drawing as she hugged her daughter and cried. I lowered my head. My parents never did that with anything I did, not my first drawing, not in my first concert.
Then they left, and I stayed in my house, feeling lonelier than ever. But I wasn’t really alone. The Monster was unleashed inside me. After all, he was tamed, why not letting him run free?
That night, while my parents had their dinner, I sat in the piano playing Mendelssohn’s Venetian Boat Song. My left hand knew the pattern as the letters of the alphabet, and the Monster controlled my right hand making variations of the melody here and there. As always, my eyes closed, lost in the music.
Suddenly, there was music no more. I opened my eyes abruptly, and I felt my monster roaring at the abrupt change. My dad stood in front of me with the electric cable in his hand.
“I’ve been calling you out loud for a few times now and you haven’t responded.”
I tried to calm down the beast, but I was shaking already. It was too late.
“What do you want?”
“The SAT is tomorrow, did you-“
“No,” I said.
“Then what are you doing playing this crap! Don’t you think there are more important things to do?”
Even my breath was shaking and I felt the rage getting out of myself.
“I don’t want to be a goddamn Architect. When are you gonna get it? I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR GODDAMN PERFECT LIFE!”
“Don’t you talk to me like that-“
“I’M A MUSICIAN! NOT A CLOSETED HOMOSEXUAL.”
I ran to my bedroom, still shaking and sweating. The monster was out of control, and so was I. We had only one place to go where we were safe. I took half my clothes and one of my music notebooks, and I tossed everything to my school backpack. I stormed myself towards the house main entrance. I slammed to door shut I thought I broke the half inch mosaic in the center of it.
Mark was on the lawn in front of his house and as soon as I saw him, I dropped everything and ran to his arms. He hugged me, and somehow without words, he understood.
“It’s okay, Brit. Everything is gonna be okay.”
I stayed the whole week in Mark’s house. I didn’t know if I didn’t want to come back because the Monster felt good there, or because I was too scared of what might happen once my parents saw me again. The only thing that made me made up my mind on going back to my house was the upcoming class with Arianne.
A few hours before the class, Mark and I were lying down in his bed, looking at the roof.
“I have no idea what my next film will be.”
“You told me it was gonna be a feature.”
“I have to write a story first.” Mark said, as he sat in the bed. “I guess Nolan always have something in his mind. I got writer’s block.”
I laughed. Mark was the most creative person I knew. I couldn’t help it, but every time he talked about Christopher Nolan, I wondered how many times Nolan was in the same position as him before Memento.
Mark blamed writer’s block to his own laziness to write. I looked at my wristwatch and stood up.
“Well, I have to go. Arianne is coming in half an hour. See you tomorrow.”
I made my way to Mark’s bedroom door. Then, I turned to face him. “Ah, I almost forgot, I’m glad you’re going green now.”
Mark’s confused expression lasted for a few seconds before he looked down to his shirt. Save a tree. Eat a beaver.
As I was walking back home, the monster walked beside me, at my pace. I was glad for the first time to have him looking out for me, and knowing no matter what, I will find what it takes in him, and he would find a place to stay within myself. I came to the realization that him and I, we were one.
When I got home, my world fell down. My piano was gone. At first I thought my parents moved it, but it was nowhere to be found. Neither were all my paintings. I ran up to my room, the Beast trotting upstairs alongside me. I opened my bedroom door and went directly to my bookshelf, where I had my music notebooks.
The Beast destroyed what was left in my room. He went to the library and ripped all of my parents’ books. The thought of burning everything flashed through my mind, but the Monster didn’t like fire, so we didn’t do it.
I ran to my parents’ office. The stylish black and white room had a couple of clients patiently waiting, sitting on some futuristic red chairs. They all looked at me, as I stormed inside the black door into my dad’s office.
He had another client, a weeping widow, or so I thought, as she was dressed in black and crying. My dad lowered the document in his hand and looked at me as if he was prepared for the answer to my question.
“Where are my things? Where’s my piano?”
“We sold it.”
“You’re going to college soon. You’ll need the money.”
I looked around the perfectly black and white office. There was a huge aquarium separating this office from my mom’s. Everything in perfect order, and everything matched. I was the discordant note in there.
The Monster took the document in his hand and put it inside the aquarium, as the widow made a squealing sound. I walked out.
This wasn’t happening. How could they do this to me? Why they were doing this to me?
I ran to my teacher’s office, as I left a voicemail message on Alicia’s cell phone to meet me at the academy. She wasn’t answering her phone. I sat in the waiting room of my teacher’s office for about five minutes. Arianne made the Monster had sympathy for children, the only reason why he wasn’t destroying everything in here. Finally, my teacher came out to call the next patient. The Beast inside me wanted a slaughter, and he was about to have it.
“I need your piano. Arianne should be here any second from now,” I said, trying to hide my anger towards my parents, but if she didn’t notice, she was blind. I was shaking uncontrollably. The Beast was getting ahold of me. Better find a place of solace, better be right away.
She gestured me into her office, and told me to sit down. I obeyed, because I needed to sit to control the Monster.
“Brittany, Alicia didn’t call you?”
I wasn’t able to make another sound that didn’t finish with screaming and throwing things around, or who knew if worst, so I chose to wait for her to continue talking.
“Alicia got deported and they returned to their country. Last week she went out of the city to see if she could do something to stay here, but the department said they had to leave for a year.”
You know when in the movies, all sound fades out slowly until the only thing you hear is the main character’s heartbeat, or breath? Well, it didn’t happen like that. The news was a bucket of cold water thrown at me without previous notice. If I wanted to teach someone, that was Arianne. I wanted her to learn everything I got. I needed her to teach me how to be human again.
The beast wasn’t roaring anymore, it was crying.
“They didn’t tell me,” I managed to say.
My teacher hesitated before talking again.
“Your parents called me. They said they don’t want any more music classes for you. They want you to focus on your future, and your career,” she said, looking down to a bunch of papers on her mahogany desk. “Music is a good hobby, but you need to have a safe career just in case. They just want to best for you. You can always teach in your spare time.”
“And you call yourself a teacher,” I said.
I stood up and left.
As I walked back home, the hard truth slapped me hard. Arianne was gone. Who was waiting for her at home to protect her innocence now? I guess no one. As soon as she’ll hit her teen years, she’ll become just like me, a fake image of everything her parents want her to be. She’ll become as broken as I am. I was supposed to protect her from that. Who’ll do that now? In silent, tears filled up my eyes and climbed down my face. Mine, Brittany’s, not the Monster’s. He wasn’t around anymore, or if he wasn’t, he decided to move in silence.
I closed the door of my bedroom and took out my music notebook. It was the only one that got away, the one in my backpack. I wrote and wrote and wrote… I noticed the sun going down, but I didn’t care. A sharp, B, C, A, A, two by three, then change count. D and E sharp, four by four, C minor arpeggio, then its third inversion chord.
I stopped when I finished every page of my music notebook, and the sun was already up again. I took a shower, changed clothes and left to Mark’s. I banged his door until he popped up. He was asleep before I got here.
“What the hell happened to you?”
“I need you to read this.” I said, as I handed him the music notebook.
He took it, and opened it.
● ● ●
“That was my first feature score I did,” I said, looking sharply to the men in front of me.
His blond hair and piercing blue eyes contrasted the suit he had on. He was probably in his early forties. Besides him, an almost bald man with a long nose and big sappy eyes was looking at me.
“Mark wrote his script and within three years of struggling, he finally found how to finance his film.”
“A great piece of work, I might add,” the bald guy said. “It’s hard to believe you were such a big fan of my work.”
“Indeed, Mr. Zimmer,” I said, looking at him and smiling. “And Mark of you, Mr. Nolan.”
They both smiled, as we shook hands before leaving my studio.