Tuesday, June 23, 2015

METHOD - A Short Story


 METHOD - A Short Story
- Rejo John


THE BEGINNING


SMS: Nothing.
Whatsapp: Nothing.
Facebook Messenger: Nothing.

It was too perfect. Too without fault. Almost like he was hiding something.

Ajay, my husband, had started wiping the messages on his phone clean. He told me it was because his phone was acting funny. He told me it was because his phone needed more space to function fine. But I sensed the reason was something entirely different.

I finally checked his call list and viola! He had forgotten to erase it. And among the names of the most recent callers was 'her' name. I checked the call details. They had talked for 15 minutes just a couple of hours ago.

“What are you looking at??” my husband said staring at me with a towel in his hand. I had seized the opportunity while he was away bathing to check his phone.
“Who is this??” I said pushing the phone towards his face.
“Who?” he said looking at the phone with a frown.
“Her!” I said turning the phone towards me, then back at him pointing at her name.
“She is... Didn't you meet her on my last team lunch?? She is a colleague. She had to discuss something about a project we are working on.” Ajay tried to brush it off as nothing significant.

Were they just colleagues discussing their 'project'?? Should I just believe him?? I honestly didn't know anymore.

I stared at him. He looked back at me. After a few seconds, he broke into a mischievous smile, hugged me, and said,
“How was your day, dear?”
I couldn't help it. I laughed, and said,
“In case you forgot! I went to that audition I had been telling you about for a week.”
“Oh!! The audition!! I totally forgot!! How did it go?” he said trying to look guilty.
“Well, for one thing, I got the part!” I said blushing.
“That's so great!!” he exclaimed and hugged me again.

*

It was just a short movie, but to me, it was a huge deal. Acting had always been my passion. You will always find me on the stage whenever the opportunity arose, doing skits, plays, and so on. I was even part of a small drama group that held plays at a nearby auditorium. And that's how this director noticed me. He took hold of me and asked me if I was interested in acting in a short movie he was doing. If he liked my acting, he might consider adding me in one of his future full length movies. I jumped at the opportunity. This was going to be the first time I was in front of a camera. This was going to be my break!

*

The next day, I decided to leave my daughter, Anu, to school an hour earlier than usual. I had called in sick at my office. The shooting may last for 10 days. I will probably end up telling my boss that I had pneumonia or something!

The director only had about 2 weeks before he had to start working on his next full length movie, so this was going to be a tight schedule.

After I left Anu safe in the staff room to wait till her classes began, I drove my car to the studio where the shooting was going to happen.

I reached there and realized that I was actually early. The director asked me if I had gone over the script and if I was ready with my lines. I said yes. I went through the script again as the makeup artist began to apply makeup on me.

I felt pretty comfortable about the character I was playing. Because it was of a lady who finds out that her husband was cheating on her and eventually proceeds to divorce him. Then they end up in a sore custody battle over their kid.

We did a few scenes that day with me and the actor who played the role of my husband. There were scenes that made it necessary for us to be intimate. I was engrossed in my character the whole time. In my mind, I was his wife and he, my husband. But I could feel the insecurity radiating off from him. He wasn't completely into his character. He was trying to force his acting. Trying to force his body language. It was starting to get on my nerves. If he screwed this up, my big break would be over. I couldn't do this alone. I needed him to be good at acting. Otherwise, the movie would end up being subpar.

*

I had been a fan of method acting since the day I heard about it. I always wanted to try it. And as this was going to be an important stepping stone in my career, I decided to go all the way and imbibe it. It wasn't going to be easy. It was not something that you just do. Its changing your behavior and actually becoming the person your character is and staying in character all the time till the shoot is over. It is to get into the mindset of the character and live it on and off screen so that you can portray a realness to the character. Acting is not just about memorizing and reciting lines. Its about body language. The emotions. And you can never be perfect if you just put on the character only when you are in front of the camera. You need to 'become' the character in every way.

Great actors have always followed the path of the Method.

Heath Ledger, one month before the shooting began for The Dark Knight, locked himself up in an apartment to prepare for the role of Joker in order to really get into the psyche of his character.

Adrein Brody starved himself to immerse himself into the role of a Holocaust victim in The Pianist.

De Niro for his role in Cape Fear had a dentist grind down his teeth in order to give the character a menacing look.

Shia Labeouf had actual sex in Nymphomaniac.

And how can one forget about Daniel Day Lewis. For his role in The Boxer, he trained for 18 months with a former world champion at the end of which he was so good, he could have gone proffessional. Or how for his role as a paralytic in My Left Foot, he stayed in the wheelchair all the time and eventually broke 2 of his ribs from the continuous hunched position in the wheelchair.

There's always a price to pay for greatness.

*
 
I drove back home worrying about my co-actor sucking at his acting. I reached my apartment at around 8 p.m. and found that, Ajay, my husband, wasn't home yet. He usually comes home by 7. Anu was at our neighbour's house playing with her friend.

An hour later, Ajay came home. I instantly smelt something on him. He noticed me and said,
“Oh! I and Patrick had gone to the pub to have a drink.”
“Whats that smell? Is it her perfume??” I said between my clenched teeth.
“What!?” he said sounding defensive.
“Or is it some other bitch this time??” I said finding my voice breaking.
“What are you saying?” he said trying to look innocent.
“I can't take this anymore!!” I shouted at him.

I strode into Anu's room and started packing her school books and some of her clothes. Then went over to our bedroom and took some of my clothes. Ajay had slumped down on the sofa looking frustrated. I caught hold of Anu, who looked confused and scared, and dragged her into the hall and shouted at Ajay,
“I am going to stay at my sister's apartment till you decide who is more important to you!! Your family or that bitch!”
With that I walked out of the house.
“You are just being paranoid! There is no....” I shut the door before he could finish the sentence and walked away.

I took my car and drove over to my sister's semi-furnished empty apartment. She had left me the keys because I was going to show the apartment to one of my friends who was looking for a place to move into. But I guess my friend will have to wait.

Reaching the apartment, I slumped down on the sofa in the living room. Anu sat next to me looking scared. I hugged her and sighed.

To say the truth, I kind of think this happened at the right time. I could use these emotions to help me protray my character better. In a way, it was... perfect. :)
***





THE MIDDLE

It was frustrating. He still couldn't get into his character well. I asked him, Sebastian, about his acting experience. He said he had acted in some stage work while he was in college.

This was stupid. Couldn't they have chosen someone who was actually good at acting?! May be this short movie wasn't that a big deal to the director, but it was important to me, and I decided to take things into my own hands. I invited my co-actor for a cup of tea at my apartment.

After the shoot, he followed my car on his bike while I picked Anu up from a friend's house near the school and then to my apartment.

Inside, he looked around the apartment while I made tea.
I just moved in a few days ago.” I put in helpfully as I found the confused look on his face at how empty the apartment seemed. No photos. Not much furniture.
Oh.” he said.

Handing him his tea, I sat on the couch and he sat on the other end. Anu played with some crayons nearby on the floor. I noticed that my purse was near her. I got up and grabbed it and kept it atop a shelf. Anu had the habit of going through my purse in hopes of finding candies, and she would swallow almost anything that looked like one. Once she had swallowed a pill from my purse thinking it was candy and fell sick and had to miss a couple of days' school.

It was nice of you to invite me over.” Sebastian said with a smile.
I smiled back at him and said,
What would you like for dinner, Sebastian?”
Oh no! My roommate is already cooking something for me today.” he said.
Well, you should call your roommate and tell him you will be staying here till the shoot is over.” I put in.
Stay here till the shoot is over??” he repeated what I said with a questioning look on his face and looked at me, then when he realized that I didn't correct myself in anyway, he assumed a smile and said, “I don't want to bother you or anything. Besides my room is pretty close to the studio, so I don't have to drive much. Its better that way.”
I moved closer to him on the couch and said,
You don't understand the gravity of what's happening. This shoot could make or break our careers. Now do you want to just go back to whatever it was that you were doing once this shoot is over or do you want to go on to get a break into the movies?”
Well... , that's the idea.” he said looking confused.
Then, let me help you.” I said trying to sound assuring.
How?”
Stay here with me. We will live as a couple, just as our characters are supposed to be, till the shoot is over. It will help us portray our characters better on screen.” I said.
Is.... isn't that a bit on the crazy side?” he said with a weird smile.

I was starting to get pissed off.

Let me put it this way! Your acting is horrible! And I am stuck with you! If I tell the director that I can't work with you, he's probably going to get rid of both of us or scrap the shoot. I don't think this short movie means much to him. He's probably doing it as something to pass his time. But it is a big deal to us, right? This will get us exposure. A short movie from a well known director is bound to get some attention, right?”

He sat there listening, fidgeting. I placed my hand on his shoulder reassuringly and said,
What do you have to lose? We have everything to gain.”
Wont I.... wont I be a bother to your family?”
Its just me and Anu. I divorced my husband a year back. It gets pretty lonely.” I said trying to look sad.
Oh! I am sorry!” he said quickly. Then, he sat silent for a moment and said,
Alright. I guess this is for the best, so I am in!”
Great!” I said with an excited smile.

*

I was too tired to cook anything, so we ordered pizzas. After dinner, I showed him to his room, and I went over to my bedroom with Anu.

Imagine his surprise when he woke up in the middle of the night and found me lying beside him.
What are you doing here??” he exclaimed.
Shhhh!” I said, “Anu is sleeping in the next room,” I whispered.
But, what are you doing here?” he whispered back.
Would you just relax?” I said. Then looked into his eyes for a moment before I kissed him on his lips.


*

Next day, Sebastian left for the studio before me. I told him I will be there after I dropped Anu at her school.

On our way to school, Anu asked me who the “uncle” was, referring to Sebastian. I told her he will be her dad for a few days.
But, what about 'dad'?”
He will be back. This uncle is like your 'temporary' dad.”
Do I have to call him dad?” she said confused.
Of course. What else would you call your dad?” I said with a naughty smile. She laughed by herself and started looking out the window.

On reaching the school, I stopped the car, gave her her bag from the backseat, and told her,
Alright Rosy, you stay at Aunt Tina's house after school. I will pick you up in the evening, okay?”

But she just sat there with a weird smile on her face.

What?” I said confused.
Mom! You just called me Rosy! My name is Anu, remember??!” she said laughing.

Shit. Rosy was the name of the character who was my daughter in the movie. I looked at Anu for a moment, then playfully pinched her cheek and said,
You are going to be a 'temporary' Rosy!”

She laughed again, and said,
Rossssy.... I like that name, mommy!!” She began laughing again.

I looked at my watch. I was running late.

Alright 'Rosy'! I will pick you up in the evening. Now off you go!”

*



As I drove alone, my mind wandered into my past. I have had a difficult one. I was depressed and attempted suicide on more than 3 occasions. After my first attempt, my psychiatrist had told me that it was just a seeking of attention. After my third attempt, he evaluated me and said that I might be suffering from schizophrenia.

You let these so called psychiatrists evaluate 'any body' and they will come up with some crap about something being mentally wrong with them. They come up with new mental disorders everyday. According to them, everybody is crazy to some degree.

My psychiatrist had put me on drugs. He said they will help me be happy. But all they did was make me drowsy all day long. After few months, I stopped taking them.

Then I started having insomnia. I literally couldn't sleep some days. My psychiatrist refused to prescribe me any sleeping pills no matter how much I insisted. Finally, last year, I found a new psychiatrist. I hid my history from him. I told him lies. I made up stories about a happy past. I told him its just that in the past year I have been having problems with work. That I was finding it difficult to sleep. After a few sessions, he had gotten me a prescription.

*

Today's shoot included scenes where I and my “husband” were supposed to be newly weds and be romantic. I can almost feel the genuine look in Sebastian's eyes when he said the lines. They came from his heart. They weren't just some lines he memorized anymore. The way he held me. The warmth in his eyes. The director felt the difference in our acting too. He remarked how we exuded charisma onscreen. I and Sebastian secretly smiled at each other.

That night, after Rosy had gone to sleep, I went into Sebastian's room and made passionate love to him.

*

The next day, in the middle of the shoot, I got an SMS from Rosy's school. It said that I needed to come over to the school immediately. Luckily, the shoot ended early that day, so I gave the apartment keys to Sebastian and told him I will be over after I met with the school principal.

As I walked into the school after parking my car, I noticed that the school was still in session. I told one of the attenders that I was Rosy's mom. She looked confused, then headed over to a register and started looking through the students' name list.

That is when I realized that I needed to break my character. Shit.

It's Anu.” I said.

The attender, a young lady, looked at me with a frown. I looked back at her sternly for a moment and it worked. She looked apologetic and said,
Oh sorry! I misheard you. Ehh... Actually, Anu is in the principal's office! Please follow me.”

The attender showed me to the principal's office and left.

In the office, Anu stood with another little girl from her class. Water colors all over their school uniforms. The principal told me they had been fighting. I was surprised. Anu had never been in a fight before.

She kept saying that she should be called as... what was it..... Rosy. And her friend refused, so she threw water colors at her. Then her friend grabbed her hair, and they began to scream and hit each other. Luckily, the teacher spotted them and separated them quickly.” said the principal in her monotonous voice.

I am soo sorry. This isn't like Anu at all!” I said trying to look taken aback and sad.

There's more. She said her mother was the one who told her her name was Rosy.” The principal looked sternly at me.

What? She said that?” I said with a smirk. The stern look on the principal's face didn't change a bit. Wiping off the smirk from my face, I moved in closer to the principal and whispered, “Can you send the kids out for a moment? I need to tell you something.”

The principal directed them to go back to their class. I smiled at Rosy who didn't return it and walked out with purple water color all over the back of her dress.

Well, may be I should have told you earlier about this. But I and my husband are getting a divorce. Its been pretty tough on her. I guess this is how she is dealing with it.”

The principal suddenly looked sad and nodded along with me. I went on to tell her how her father was trying to legally take her back, and Anu had been disturbed by this entire episode. At that point, I kind of felt I was going too far with my stories and decided to cut it short. The principal sat back in thought for a moment and said she will give special attention to Anu and make sure she is well taken care off. I thanked the principal and left.

*

I drove to my apartment. Parking my car, I began to feel very tired. May be I should take a nap.

On reaching my apartment, I found the door wide open. I walked in and found Sebastian sitting on the couch with his face bruised.
What happened??” I exclaimed.
You lied to me!!” he shouted jumping up from the couch.
I didn't lie to you!” I said sounding confused and defensive.
You told me you were divorced! But guess who came over today and almost beat the living hell out of me??!”
Oh no!” I exclaimed as I realized what had happened.
Sebastian stormed into his room saying,
That's it! I am out of here!”
Dont you dare leave!” I shouted at him marching into his room. I was completely stressed out.
What are you going to do?? Kill me??” he shouted back at me.
If you leave, I am going to lodge a complaint against you. I am going to tell the cops that you threatened me and took advantage of me!”

He stopped, looked at me with a helpless look on his face, and slumped down on the edge of the bed. I sat on the bed beside him, tried to calm myself down, and said,
Listen. I am doing this for the movie. I don't want anything else out of this arrangement we have. Its just another week, and then you can leave.”

He looked at me with a look of anger and confusion on his face.
Do it for our career.” I said soothingly, touching his arm. He buried his head in his hands. I gently brushed his hair with my fingers. He batted away my hand and exclaimed,
Do not touch me!!”

Calmly, with a smile on my face, I said, “This anger is good. You need to save it for tomorrow's shoot.”

He frowned at me, then got up and sighed. After a few seconds, he said,
Alright. After the shoot is over, I leave! But you should promise me you will tell your husband that he is never to lay his hands on me again!”
Okay. I will tell him you have nothing to do with all of this.” I said.

He sighed again and stormed out of the room.

*

Next day was the part in the script where I and my husband have a fight which would eventually lead to the divorce. The scene included Sebastian slapping me after a confrontation. I insisted with the director that Sebastian actually slap me to make it more realistic.

The first time Sebastian did it, he held back. He didn't give it his all. The director seemed happy with it and gave directions to the crew to get ready for the next shot. But I wasn't satisfied. It wasn't good enough. I told the director I wasn't satisfied with the scene and that I wanted it reshooted.

Are you crazy?” Sebastian told me in person when they were getting ready to reshoot the scene. I moved close to his ear and whispered something. I told him to remember what had happened yesterday. I told him to remember his helplessness. His anger. His frustration. And then, minutes later, when the director shouted action, I sensed the realness in his anger. He slapped me holding nothing back. I almost lost my footing. The noise was so loud that the director forgot to shout cut. Everybody just kept staring at us in awe. Amidst the tingling sensation spreading all over my face, I smiled at Sebastian and squeezed his arm. He looked at me with a mixture of anger and sorrow.

Alright! Now lets get ready for the next shot!” shouted the director recovering from his shock. I smiled at him to convey that I was alright.

I went over to makeup. My phone buzzed. It was a message from the school principal. “Anu's father picked her up from school today. One of the attenders noticed this, and they couldn't stop him. By the time I came out, he was gone with her.”

As soon as I read the message, I broke down into tears. I didn't know what was happening to me. Like I was waiting for something to push me over the brink and let me to cry. Like I was looking for a reason. The make-up artist was taken aback.

Oh god! Did I slap you too hard??” exclaimed Sebastian who was sitting on the makeup chair next to mine.
I tried to control myself and handed my phone over to him. He read the message silently and said,
I am so sorry.”
Its... its fine.” I said finding my voice quiver.
Are you going to get her back?” Sebastian asked.

That's when it hit me. This was happening at the right time. At a time when I needed the emotions the most. A smile spread across my face without me even realizing it.

Are you fine?” Sebastian said looking at me weirdly.
Yes.” I said. Perfect. :)

*

I didn't call Ajay that day. Neither did I the next. The third day I went to school in hopes that I can simply pick up Anu from her class, but she wasn't at school. Finally, in the evening, I called him up.
You are crazy, you know that??!” he shouted at me.
I have just as much authority over her as you, so...”
My lawyer told me not to talk to you. I am going to file for a divorce!” he cut in.
What?!”
I gotta go. My lawyer will call you with the details. Bye!”
With that, he cut the call.
***






THE END

Ajay's lawyer had called me and set a date for a formal counseling next month.

The short movie was my punching bag. I went to shoot everyday and let my pent-up emotions go.

My character and Sebastian's character were now in a court battle for custody over Rosy. I no longer was acting. I no longer was forcing myself into the character. I 'was' the character.

Everything seemed to go well, but then it happened. It was the last scene, and, suddenly, I could not act anymore. Something was wrong. May be I was afraid to finish this and go back to my life. Afraid to go back to reality. May be deep down, I felt there was nothing waiting for me out there. This was where I belonged.
In the middle of the scene, I stopped. I told the director I wasn't feeling well and walked out of the studio without even waiting to listen to what the director had to say.

I got in my car, drove to my apartment, and locked myself in my bedroom.

I felt alone. Sebastian still stayed with me, but everyday once he got home, he would go into his room and lock himself in. He seldom came out. He even gets his food home delivered from a restaurant nearby. At night, he locks his door from the inside so that I couldn't enter. He seemed happier as the days went by, almost as if he was counting down the days left for the shoot to end so that he can move out.

That evening, when he came home, he came up to me and asked,
Whats wrong??”
I just didn't feel like I could do justice to the character today. I just couldn't get into those.... 'emotions'.”
Comon! You are doing great! You are a fine actor, you know that?” he said with a hint of frustration in his voice and sat down on the sofa beside me. I looked at him helplessly.

He muttered something under his breath.

What?” I said.
Today was supposed to be the last day of the shoot!” he said.
Oh! So that you can finish it and move out to your place??” I shouted at him.
That was our deal, remember!?? I can't take all this staying in character till the shoot is over crap! I just want this to be over, and you are delaying it!! You are making everybody suffer with your stupid antics!”

I felt my blood boil in anger. This unprofessional fucker would never make it big as an actor, but I didn't tell him that. I just marched into my room and shut the door as loud as I can.

I took one of my sleeping pills that I kept in the secret compartment in my purse and went to sleep.

Next day morning, I was awoken by the loud knocking at my door. I didn't get up or answer.

Its late. I am going over to the studio and I will tell them you will be coming in a bit late, okay?” I heard Sebastian shout from the other side. I stayed quiet. He knocked for some more time, then left. I heard the faint noise of his bike fade away. I stayed in bed.

I didn't go to the studio that day. I switched off my phone and just stayed in bed. I didn't feel I was ready to go back and do the scene yet.

Sebastian came back in the afternoon and caught me sitting on the sofa in the living room.
Listen! You have to come and do the scene! The director was pissed off! He said he's going to abandon the project if you don't turn up tomorrow! He is supposed to begin shooting for his big budget movie soon.”

I can't do it! I am not... not ready.” I broke down. I was a mess.

What are you talking about? It's just one scene. Its okay if it is not that perfect. Your acting so far has been perfect!”

I sat up, my eyes watery. Sebastian sat next to me and said,

Think about it. Everything we have done till now, it will all be gone if the director abandons the project. All the footage will just be some data lying around in someone's computer never to be seen by anyone. Have you forgotten that this is our ticket into show business??”

He was finally coming to his senses, but I had lost mine. I had no idea how to go about this. The last scene was just as important to me as any other scene. Moreover, the last scene was what the viewers were going to be left with when they finish watching the movie. Screwing up the last scene will leave the viewers with a bad impression. I wanted the viewers to remember the movie. I wanted them to be mesmerized. I wanted them to go out and tell everybody about the movie. I wanted more people to watch it. I wanted more exposure.

I didn't promise Sebastian anything that day. After sometime, I had just gone to my room and lied down again. I tried to sleep, but my insomnia was back with a vengeance. I took one of my sleeping pills and lied down to sleep.

Next day, I still didn't feel like I was ready. Sebastian knocked on my door for a long time, and then he left.

I sat up. I felt like my life was over. I was so close to finishing this movie and moving onto my dreams, but I wasn't able to. I have done so many sacrifices for it, but now it seemed everything was going to be for nothing.

All I needed was to become a new person. I wanted to have a long sleep. I went to the kitchen, got myself a glass of milk. I took out all the sleeping pills I had. About 8 of them. I crushed them up in a paper using a piece of wood I had lying in the kitchen. I thought I heard something outside and stopped. I must be hearing voices again.

I poured the powder into a glass of milk, went to my room, and locked the door. I sat on my bed and hesitated whether to drink it. A wave a sadness swept over me, and I picked up the glass and brought it to my lips. Then I heard it. A faint noise of a car below. I stalled. Moments later, I heard the front door open and someone talking in hushed tones. Then I heard the knocking on the door. I didn't move a muscle. I heard knocking again followed by Anu shouting!

I quickly ran to the door, opened it, and hugged her tight. I kissed her all over her face while she giggled and hugged me back.

Sebastian and Ajay stood behind her looking at us blankly.

Sorry, I thought this was the only way to cheer you up.” Sebastian said looking guilty.

Ajay looked at me and then quickly looked away, like he was trying to avoid my gaze. Then, staring at the floor, he said,
She can stay with you for now. I will pick her up next week.”

My eyes were moist with happiness from seeing Anu. Before I can reply anything to Ajay, he just nodded at Sebastian and walked away.

Are you feeling fine now?” Sebastian said after a few minutes, looking concerned. I once again hugged Anu and nodded yes to him.
Ok, I will give you guys a few minutes, but then we need to go over to the studio and finish the shoot. I promised them I will be there with you in an hour!”

I nodded again with an excited smile. Suddenly, I felt like I could do anything. I realized that being away from Anu had made me feel depressed. Sometimes, its hard to pinpoint the cause. Sometimes, all it takes is just one thing to tip it off.

I was tearing up and Anu started crying looking at me crying. I kissed her and smiled at her. I made her sit on one of the chairs and began to get ready while I asked her about her stay at her dad's house. She told me her grandparents had come over, and she told me how much she loved their bedtime stories. I left her to answer nature's call, and when I had returned, I found her sitting on the edge of the bed with the glass of milk in her hand, half empty. Her lips smeared with milk.

My arm twitched a bit, but then I found myself just standing there and looking at her as she smiled and took another sip.

Mommy, I am hungry!” she exclaimed wiping her mouth on her sleeve.
We will stop by a restaurant on our way to the studio, alright?” I said with a smile and just stood there looking at her.

She looked at me with a playful laugh and shouted,
Why are you looking at me like that, mommy!??”
Na..nothing!” I said and went and sat beside her and held her close as she finished off the milk. I gently took the glass off her hand and placed it on the table.

I held her by my side and began to gently rock her.

Sebastian came over from his room and said peeking in,
We better make a move.”
I nodded at him and signed that I needed a minute.
I will be waiting outside.” he said putting on his bag and walking out.

A minute later, Anu was yawning.
Do you want to come to the studio dear or do you want to stay here and take a nap?” I said.
I wan.... nap... mommy..” she said yawning.

I let her lie down on the bed. Pulled the covers till her shoulders. Then I got up and grabbed my bag. Before I left the room, I looked back at her sleeping peacefully on the bed.

 As I walked out, I could feel my insides tearing apart. But I needed to stay calm till I reached the studio. I needed these emotions. I needed to keep them subdued till I needed them.

I took a deep breath hoping I can hold it all in. Sebastian was waiting for me. I told him I am not taking the car and would ride with him on his bike.

It was a pretty quiet ride. Neither Sebastian nor I spoke. I was busy trying to keep my mind off Anu and the emotions at bay before the scene, and I guess Sebastian was worried about the shoot too.

As we reached the studio, I realized Sebastian had messaged the director that we were on our way. They were ready to do the last scene.

As I walked in, the makeup girl hurried to me to apply makeup. I told her I didn't need any. The director shouted,

Dim the lights a bit. Its too much. Actors!? Are we ready??”

I and Sebastian nodded.

Where is Rosy??” the director shouted at someone.

She is ready!” someone shouted from the other end. I looked at the director and he avoided my gaze. He seemed pretty angry.

The director finally yelled action. This scene, the final scene, was where my character sees Rosy's dead body after she died in an accident. In the scene, I am standing with Sebastian in a morgue. A person in a white uniform brings over a table and Rosy's dead body is on it, covered with a white cloth. The man then removes the cloth to reveal her face for us. And, as the scene unfolded and the man removed the cloth to show Rosy's supposed dead body, I let my feelings loose.

And my head exploded: I killed her! I could have saved her, but I just let her keep drinking!!

All the emotions that I had kept buried for the past 20 minutes or so came bursting out. I broke down. Sebastian grabbed hold of me, and I cried on his shoulder. Then, wailing, I turned to Rosy's body and cupped her face with my hands and kissed her on her forehead. Sebastian tried to gently pull me away, but I forcefully hugged Rosy and refused to let go of her. When Sebastian finally managed to pull me away, I began to feel dizzy, and the last thing I remembered was Sebastian easing me to the ground.

When I woke up, almost the entire crew was around me. The concerned look on the director's face turned to one of relief.

I am just so glad I didn't fire you. Your acting is phenomenal! I think you are going to go places!” he said with a smile. Some of the crew helped me up and someone gave me a bottle of water.

That was some terrific acting there!” Sebastian said with a smile. I looked back at him blankly. Then the entire crew started clapping and cheering for me. And a smile formed on my face without me even realizing it.
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