Name: Richard Gilmore
Description: Tall, lanky, athletic build. Untidy blonde hair and brown eyes. Generally shy and reserved.
Nobody so young should be so good at what he does.
Yet, here he was.
Carnegie Hall was filled to the rafters, every seat sold out months in advance. The rich and famous had gathered to bear witness to genius. The entire crowd held their collective breath. After all, they were about to see a phenomenon. The anticipation was heavy when the announcer finally ushered him on stage.
Richard Gilmore walked on stage to a raucous applause. Every patron rose to their feet and cheered. He stopped for a moment, facing the audience for a short bow. The faces were hidden by the glare, but he could still feel the enormity of the occasion.
It did not perturb him in the least. He was used to the adulation of crowds wherever he toured since before he was a teenager. His talents were revered all around the world. The applause died down, replaced by an expectant silence. He took a deep breath and turned towards the grand piano. The spotlight followed his path to the seat. For a while, he just looked at the keys with a look of wonder. Despite being as good as he was, he always had a special place in his heart for the ivory tabs that made such wondrous tunes.
He raised his hand and the entire crowd missed a heartbeat. His fingers came down on the keys, immediately arresting the senses of all present. Their senses succumbed to the symphony that flowed from his fingers. It was not just for the ears, but for the soul. His skillful fingers danced across the keys with magical ease.
Richard called this composition “Aria for the Weary Soul”
. It was more than a melody, it could caress the listener's senses and sooth them of all their worries. Each note was in perfect harmony with the other, creating a melodious masterpiece. The audience swayed inwardly, every octave pushing them a little higher on their way to sensual nirvana.
His hands soon played involuntarily with the rhythm he had practiced innumerable times, his mind drifting to his childhood. His passion for music was obvious even at a tender age. He learned to read treble clefs and F sharp notes before he learned the alphabet properly, and when he played it, it made the hardest heart melt.
Richard wrote his first piece at the tender age of seven, from the chaos of tunes in his mind. He was already hailed as a prodigy in several high-brow musical circles, but the composition pushed his fame to a new level altogether. Suddenly, people wanted to pay him to perform.
Fast forward to the present and he had performed in over thirty cities, over fifty major concerts and had an book full of his own compositions. Critics the world over raved over him, hailing him as greater than the past masters themselves. He was talked about in the same breath as Mozart or Beethoven.
All at the age of twenty.
The tempo was rising now, becoming more pained. The audience leaned forward on their seats. The harshest parts of his life ran through Richard's mind. His parents passed away in a plane crash two years ago. He was never one for socializing, preferring to spend time with his music. His parents handled his life for him. With them gone, it was all... empty.
He got over his grief by diving into his music, churning out breathtaking sonatas and cadenzas with consummate ease. The music was his only human connection, something that reminded him how he still had the courage to face everyday.
His music was all he had.
Richard blinked. The applause was back, meaning he had finished his performance. Even with his mind elsewhere, his dexterous fingers made a difficult series of notes seem laughably simple. The papers tomorrow would be gushing over this rendition.
He gave the crowd the obligatory bow before making his hasty exit. Paparazzi tried to mob him outside, but his team expertly bundled him into the waiting limo which took him straight to the Ritz near Battery Park.
Once in the privacy of his suite, he let out a long sighing breath. Throughout the course of his day, he had not said anything. His music spoke the words his lips could not. He was one of those enigmatic recluses that the tabloids love to speculate about.
Is he gay?
Does he have a secret lover?
Does he have a secret dungeon with whips and chains under his mansion?
He shook his head disdainfully. The truth was, at once, absurdly simple and infinitely complex. He was all alone. If he fell in love, he would not know what it felt like. Human interactions puzzled him, scared him even. He preferred to play for them, but not talk to them.
Richard's private phone rang and he instinctively knew who it was.
“Hey there, kiddo. Saw you on TV. You rocked.”
“Thanks,” he said, forcing a wry smile.
“I just wanted to remind you that a journalist is coming over tomorrow for that documentary on your life.”
He buried his face in his pillow, willing himself to be dreaming.
“Can't you get me out of it?”
“Nope,” came the even reply. “I think it'll be great publicity for you.”
“I'd like my music to talk for me. You know that?”
“Yes, but all those fans would love to know you,” she persisted. “The man behind the music.”
Ever since Samantha had mentioned a possible media feature, he had been mentally preparing for this phone call and dreading it with equal measure. He knew there was little chance to change her mind.
“All right,” he conceded. “Tell them to come in the evening.”
“Cool,” said the ecstatic voice. “Sleep well, dear. Good night.”
He shut the phone and spent an eternity staring at the ceiling. Music was similar to humans, yet different. Music had emotions, like people did. But unlike humans, music was simple and he could mold it the way he wanted. Humans were far more unpredictable. The thought of the upcoming media date scared him.
Samantha was a close family friend and his long time agent. She had taken over as his legal guardian when his parents passed and was the only person he had meaningful conversations with. She handled all his tours and logistics and had grown from an agent to a friend to a confidante.
“She has my best interests at heart,” he thought, resigned to his fate.
He shut his eyes, forcing himself to get some sleep. A car would come in the morning and whisk him away to the solitude of his family estate in the Hamptons, only to have that solitude broken by a journalist.
Richard tried picturing some questions in his head which he would be asked the next day, but was worn out from his exertions. His parents had left him enough money to live an opulent life without doing any work. He just played because the notes reverberated in his head endlessly, begging for release, and he would be cruel not to release them.
He fell asleep, dreaming up more beautiful music for the future. Tomorrow would be a new day, and a challenging one for him.