The concert had all been Anna's idea - I'd no concept of performing, no plans to show off or really make it clear what I was capable of; only my teacher and my family had ever heard me play, since I was very secretive about my talent. And it was a talent. After the first few weeks I started to realise that this was something I could do - this was my gift.
But she insisted that, however motivated and capable I was, it would be good for me to have something to work towards, and became so sorrowful that I simply had to give in. From there it was phone calls, talking dates, and buying concert clothes. Well, Mum bought them and I tried them on at home. I wasn't exactly shy but I didn't like clothes shops. They frightened me, too many people talking at once.
"It'll be so exciting," Mum had told me. But when the day came I didn't really feel excited, just a little nervous and very lost. The music was all there in my head but it didn't feel right to be on stage. Obviously, I wasn't a born performer.
It went pretty well, I decided afterwards. The audience clapped in all the right places and I felt supported by their encouragement. But there was resistance: Elenora didn't like this; she was slow to respond and I found myself pushing harder against the strings than I normally had to. Whispering to her, even, telling her to do this for me, to play as she did when we were alone.
Still, the papers loved it, and came up to my afterwards to ask questions which I tried to answer without seeming too irritated by the unwanted attention, all after the scoop. People saw the blind kid, the talented teenager, the guy with the violin - but they didn't see me.
"I want to go home," I said to Mum, when she finally managed to push her way through to me. "Get me home, please, and quickly." Hand in mine, she led me over to the exit, fending off queries about our action. "We're going home," I said bluntly. "Let us through, we're going home."
For several days after that it was hard to get back to normality. If I wanted to listen to the radio - and I liked listening to the news, to keep in touch with the world I couldn't see - they would be bound to mention me at some point, since I'd become quite the sensation. Had I really played well enough to merit that? It seemed so, and the phone call came a week later.
"Mark?" said the voice. It wasn't one I knew. I've never forgotten a voice in my life, for they're like people's faces to me, and I would have known immediately had this been a friend. But I answered in the positive anyway. "Mark, I was wondering if I could speak to you about your concert the other night."
"No," I replied, feeling irritated. Just another talent scout, then, or perhaps a record company. One of them had approached me backstage and I'd said that I wasn't interested. I played for myself, not for them. "I'm sorry, but I have to go and practice. I haven't time for this right now."
"But this could change your life!" He sounded confused and hurt; I convinced myself that it was nothing but a sham to make me feel guilty. "I don't think you know what you are rejecting. Please, you have to understand that this is important."
I thought for a minute. "No, I'm really not interested. My music is for me. I don't want to share it with the world just yet." I hung up. It wouldn't be the last time that I did so, either.