It was nice filming in my home state. Already knowing so much about this place where we were to film was helpful and I felt fully prepared but still I had much to understand.
Christine’s husband- the man who was her childhood sweetheart had become abusive and an alcoholic! She now had a son which had to be the most difficult thing for her to understand.
Not having children of my own I had to purely go on instinct and observation which wasn’t too bad but it was more difficult to portray the truth.
I walked along the shoreline which I had done many times in my life here. Coney was no foreign land but never having seen it as alive as it would be during Christine’s time…that made it harder to embody.
Nevertheless it was a beautiful day and I had a lot of opportunity to explore and find her.
It was lovely seeing Gerry and Patrick again. It would be a lie if I said they had not become even more handsome over the years.
And even more a surprising was that Gerry was still single…He’s far too old for you! Don’t be stupid! He couldn’t like you…
Maybe I should invite him to dinner. After all we had to rekindle our relationship.
Considering we were both supposed to be lovers…ones that shared a son.
I shook my head to clear my thoughts, I hadn’t notice that my heart beat a bit faster.
I came upon the hotel which we all were staying in, the heat was not much of a bother but I went inside anyway, spying Gerry headed to the elevators.
My heart leapt at the sight of him, “Gerry!” I called as I ran up to him.
He turned and grinned, “Hey!”
I had forgotten how alluring his accent was…We hugged briefly and I smelled the smoke on his clothes, pulling back with a frown.
“Are you smoking again?” I demanded.
He looked away embarrassed and nodded, “Seems it’s a habit I can’t quite kick” he said simply.
Smiling I linked arms with him, “Perhaps I can help” I said happily, “but in the meantime, would you like to go to dinner? There’s a great restaurant not far from here” I asked, my heart sped up at the thought of going out to dinner with him.
I wrote the clamminess in my palms off to the heat and not to my nervousness.
He smiled at my invite, a surprisingly handsome smile, “I’d love to” he said.
I smiled, arms linked, I lead him outside into the setting New York sun.
“I heard you’re doing well. With your movies and all” I said, making small talk.
He nodded but didn’t seem interested in the subject, “How’s your family doing?” he asked simply.
“Good. I’ve been…avoiding calling though” I said.
He sighed and looked down at his feet as we walked along, “How come?”
“Every time I talk to my Mum she ends up asking why I’m not seeing anyone and it’s getting old” I said carefully, watching for his reaction critically out of the corner of my eye.
He ran a hand through his hair and smiled weakly, “Don’t feel rushed. That one person will come around and it will be well worth the wait” he said seriously.
I tried to smile encouragingly at him, he smiled back but there was something wrong.
There was something broken behind his eyes- like he was struggling with some deep internal conflict.
This was going to be challenging to say the least. This character was completely different then the last time I played him.
Not that I enjoyed playing a bad man but it would be nice to play this character once again.
Plus the duet between Raoul and the Phantom-Devil Take The Hindmost, was going to be a blast to do with Gerry.
I missed my wife and sons terribly. Well I missed my sons terribly; Renee and I had been fighting for months for now.
The production for this movie came at an opportune time; I thought it would do us good to have some tome apart from another.
I’d never been much of a drinker…maybe I should talk to Gerry but that might open old wounds that should be left alone.
I sat on the balcony that overlooked the sea, slowly drinking a beer and enjoying the sight. New York truly was an amazing thing to behold from so many stories up.
My gaze was caught however by the sight of Gerry and Emmy walking down the board walk arm-in-arm.
I couldn’t lie. I was jealous that they didn’t invite me to come along but I did not doubt that it was for their roles. Emmy and Gerry would often do things together during the last movie to make their passion portrayal on screen seem real.
I remember how jealous it would make me when they made plans to go out as if I was not there. Inviting each other over for dinner or some romantic evening.
Gerry always swore nothing happened between them but I always had my suspicions…
I thought about my character, Raoul. If I were him now, in this very moment, I would be curious to see what my wife was up to with him.
Method acting was a common tool that many actors used, I never had but, I could see the draw- it would take away the guessing and uncertainty out of playing a character.
Why not start now?
I got up and hurried out the door and into the streets. In long strides I quickly made my way up to where both Gerard and Emmy where. I kept a safe distance wanting to observe them without them knowing I was there.
It seemed Gerry was stressed- due to his body language and how he continually brushed his hair back. Emmy placed a hand on his arm in a soothing motion-no doubt trying to make him feel better.
I made my way closer keeping between them and a group of people where I could catch faint murmurs of the couple’s conversation.
“I think it’s a lost cause…” Gerry said sadly.
Emmy responded but her words faded before I could catch on.
“Honestly?” Gerry asked his deeper voice easier to understand over the chatter of the crowd.
Emmy nodded and placed a sweet yet chaste peck on his cheek which Gerry responded to with a smile. They continued to make their way down the boardwalk until they came across a small sea-side restaurant.
Again I felt jealous but made my way in behind them, sitting close but not close enough for them to notice me.
They were oblivious to the fact that I was there as they smiled and laughed at one another- like two people in love.
I wondered if Renee looked like that, did we still look like that? When was the last time we had looked like that?
I watched as a smile lit up Emmy’s face and Gerard smiled back as she laughed, slapping his arm lightly.
Love and happiness just oozed off the two of them and I couldn’t take it. Looking at them and comparing it to my own marriage just made me realize that what Renee and I had was nowhere near a marriage anymore.
I felt as if I was hyperventilating as I turned on my heel and practically ran out of the restaurant into the cool air of New York.
The blistering heat disappeared with the sun, with the dark came the cool night air that smelt of salt as it washed off the ocean.
While the cold blast helped my thought clarity it didn’t help the guilt that clutched my stomach, I walked over to the railing that lined the boardwalk and gripped it, my head down.
In coming here, in accepting this movie and choosing to have some time apart from my wife, instead of staying and attempting to work throughout problems… I had accepted my marriage was over.
That in itself was not an issue, people fell in and out of love all the time and I’d known I wasn’t in love with Renee for a while now.
But that wasn’t what made my stomach clench with guilt- it was my kids. My two little boys.
I was still very much in love with them and was not ready to leave them. I wasn’t ready to put them through the heart-ache and pain that came with their parents divorcing.
But I also wasn’t ready to return to my marriage- as it was loveless and made both Renee and myself miserable. Me more so than her.
That’s when I heard it. Beautiful music.
It was lovely and sweet, ringing with a childlike innocence and hope.
Raising my head slightly I glanced down the boardwalk to see a small girl playing a Piccolo.
There was a small crowd gathered around as she played her beautiful music and as I raised my head a little more I realized that the musician was actually a familiar face- Lucy.
I’d heard Andrew sing her praise and had in fact had a lesson with both her and Andrew this morning but hearing her play something for myself, without having to worry about my pitch, timing, rhythm… it was extraordinary. It wasn’t a piece I recognized, but I could tell it was being played with the upmost precision and talent, but most of all it was being played with emotion.
What separated good musicians from great ones was the emotion they put into whatever they played and sung. Lucy played with emotion.
I could feel the distinct feelings of hope and playfulness emitting from her Piccolo, her eyes were closed as she played a particularly long and piercing note.
As she went back into the melody her eyes fluttered up and locked with mine. A startling deep green that seemed to see right through me. Finishing a line, a quick trill of notes, she let her hand come up in a small brief wave.
A smile tugged at my lips as I lifted one of my hands from the bar and waved before letting it fall back down.
Smiling she looked down again and finished a long note, taking the instrument away from her lips she bowed. The small crowd around her clapped excitedly and all threw small handfuls of change into the case.
Sighing I turned to look back out at the sea, it was a dulled grey, seeming to absorb my mood. How I longed for the days where I had hope and happiness and general enthusiasm for life.
Basically, what every person felt when they were young. By standards I wasn’t that old, late thirties, but I felt old. And tired, of everything- I longed for something, anything, to pull me out of my depression.
Letting my head loll down I stared down at my feet feeling utterly hopeless.
A small nudge alerted me to the fact that someone was at my side, the side of their arm pressing into the lower half of mine; I turned my head slightly to see Lucy standing next to me, a small smile splayed on her lips.
She smiled in greeting, “Hello” I said back with as much enthusiasm as I could manage. She handed me her phone and I read the small message there: what are you doing here?
“Just came for a walk” I said simply handing her back her phone, saying ‘I was stalking Gerry and Emmy’ didn’t seem like an appropriate response.
She typed something quickly and handed it back to me: you look upset.
I snorted, “Is it that obvious?” I asked handing her back her phone.
She nodded, touching her ear she leaned against the railing, her green eyes looking at me expectantly.
I sighed understanding what she meant, ‘talk and I’ll listen’ she had mimed, “I’m just… a little bored of life I guess” I said, choosing my words carefully.
She titled her head to the side, the question clear on her lips, why?
I decided very quickly to only tell her as much as she needed to know, keeping my private life private was a main priority for me. But I did wish for her to understand what was happening with me, she had been so concerned as to notice I was unhappy and kind enough to ask why, after only knowing me for a day.
“My wife and I are having… problems” I admitted reluctantly, I turned to face here; there was something in her face that was so… understanding? No she was too young for that. Non-judgemental? Innocent? Genuinely concerned?
Maybe it was a combination of the three, but I felt that I could continue, “I’m not sure if we’re in love anymore” I said.
That was a lie; I knew we weren’t in love anymore. But I didn’t know what I was going to do about it.
In my brief meditation she had typed a message on her phone, I took it curiously: and that makes you unhappy?
I frowned as I turned to her, “Of course. Why wouldn’t it?” I demanded handing her back the phone.
She didn’t look up as she typed though I watched her with curiosity, eager to see what she would answer with. Taking the phone when she held it out to me I read the message once again: don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
I stared at the words on the screen with incomprehension. How could she have such a view?
While I could see the logic, my marriage had been happy and produced two of the most important things in my life, how was I supposed to look at it in such a way?
The concept was foreign to me.
I slid the phone shut and handed it back to her. I didn’t want to talk anymore.
Her arm disappeared from pressing into mine for a moment before it reached up and slid across my shoulders, then I felt warm lips press themselves to my cheek for a moment before she pulled back.
I snapped my head around to face her. Had she just kissed me?
Looking into her green eyes there was no hint of any kind of feelings that she had about what she’d just done, but she stared at me with the upmost simplicity that for some reason, was comforting in my hectic life.
‘Be Happy’ she mouthed before she pulled away.
I watched as she bent down and grabbed her small Piccolo case before she began walking down the boardwalk.
I stared after her with the upmost confusion, “Lucy!” I called out.
She spun around artfully, her hair fanning out as she did before her green eyes immediately captured mine, a small smile splayed on her lips curiously.
There were so many things I wanted to say to her, yet I knew not how to put any of them into words, so I simply said the first thing I could think of, “What were you playing?”
She smiled before she touched her hand to her chest.
Her message was clear- she was playing something she had written.
With that she turned on her heel and continued down the boardwalk, a small bounce in her step.
I turned back to stare out at the sea, what an odd creature she was. Talented, insightful, mysterious and… I couldn’t believe I even thought the word… beautiful.
I thought about those hypnotizing green eyes for a lot longer than I should have that night.