Before anything else, aside from the musical piece being mentioned frequently in the story,
I think this song would best fit the story :) (especially the lyrics)
Irene is a musically inclined child. Ever since her childhood, she has explored various instruments, all of her own will. One would think that her parents must be those typical Asian parents who push their child to learn and master a talent or two. But not with Irene’s case. The moment her six years old self has set her eyes on one of the displays in a local music shop, she pulled her father’s hand, pointed at the worn-out upright piano with sparkles in her eyes, and the rest is history.
It has been fourteen years since then, and Irene’s now away from home in her humble abode in Seoul. She had just moved recently after getting accepted into a prestigious university for her master’s degree. Her parents are generous enough to get her own place as a reward for her hard work throughout the years.
Well, the good thing about getting her own place is that she’s free to do whatever she wants with it. No annoying landlady to bug her every month to collect her rent. She can decorate her place however she pleases. And with that said, her parents can’t deny her when she asked if she could bring her old, upright piano with her.
Her parents bought her a brand new grand piano by the age of twelve when they realized her potential and talent, leaving her first piano in their storage room, collecting dust. She has won countless competitions, held dozens of recitals and performances throughout her childhood. But of course, like any other teenager getting their life together, eventually after stepping into college, she had to make a choice. So, she focused on her academics. Being an engineering student can be really tough.
She does play from time to time, but now, it’s only for leisure, unlike before where she performs in front of crowds since school took most of her time. And now that she’s left home, she thought she completely left that hobby. But after spending a week in her place all alone, she realized that she needs something to accompany her that will remind her of home. And that’s when she remembered her old piano. Its size is more manageable and it doesn’t take a lot of space so it’s the ideal one to bring with her. She’s also not a fan of those electric keyboards because in her own words, “it doesn’t sound authentic.”
So here she is, standing in front of her old upright piano, sweating profusely after dusting it off. Her parents only managed to remove surface dust before transport so she had to do all the work to clean up all the nooks and crannies of the old piano.
She pressed the keys slightly and smiled. It still sounds as good as she can remember.
Since then, it has become her habit to play a song or two every evening which relieves her after a stressful day at the university.
She’s always busy with her research, schoolwork, and such. So, she probably didn’t notice a newcomer occupying the room behind hers. She only then noticed it one afternoon when she decided to play an old piece that she loved playing as a child.
Fantasia for Piano in F Minor, 940 (Op. posth. 103) by Franz Schubert
It’s a duet piece, originally. She used to alternate between the primo and secondo, depending on her duet partner, and with time, she also learned to create an arrangement that will allow her to play both the secondo and primo.
She was playing with her usual stance, eyes closed, with a little smile on her face. Her body moves gracefully, resonating with the sound of the notes she’s playing.
As soon as she hit the 13th bar, where she would need to add notes an octave higher, she suddenly heard from not too distant the notes being played by somebody else, complementing and joining her. It’s faint, but she can hear each note resonating from the walls behind her.
She smiled more. It's not every day she finds another being able to communicate with her through a way she treats holy- the piano.
Here comes the 48th bar. Forte, Fortissimo, louder, her sheets said. She can also hear the intensity of the stranger from the other side of the wall, matching with hers.
65th bar. Pianissimo, very soft this time. And with that, the stranger does the same.
It went on for a full 20 minutes, changing measures from four-fourths to three, going from allegro moderato to allegro vivace, exchange of notes back and forth, neither backing down but neither overpowering each other until the last note.
This made Irene smile blissfully.
It’s the feeling of understanding someone without words exchanged, is what she thought.
She wanted to thank the kind stranger for joining her with this piece. It’s been such a long time since she last played this properly. A lot of pianists she had a duet with before, but although it sounds nice to the ears of the audience, she herself can’t feel the connection between her and her duet partner.
Not until today. And from a stranger next room whom she doesn’t even know. For some reason, the way they played together, it’s like a well-oiled machine for how smooth it went.
“I wonder who that is… thank you, kind stranger.”
That night, she succumbed to slumber with a smile on her face.
Since that day, something has shifted within her.
It’s been a whole while since she played like her younger self who performs on stage. But after that night, that exhilarating feeling, that energy is slowly coming back to her. She felt like all the bones in her fingers are as flexible as ever, hitting the right keys every single time.
There are times when she would wait for her neighbor to play, wondering if she’ll ever have a chance to have a duet with the person again. She can’t deny that the first time they played together was one of her best performances, even after considering all her performances on stage.
“It’s probably the connection.” she thought.
As much as she’s a solo player for the majority of the time, she would love to play a duet like that again.
But while she’s still waiting for that second chance to play with the mysterious neighbor, she’d play again and again like how she used to.
One random afternoon during the holiday break, she finally had time for some general cleaning. And she finally decided to clean up her piano from the inside out, which she hadn’t had a chance to do before. She also managed to move it alone to the center, albeit struggling, of her living room’s wall, just perfect when the sun hits the window during the golden hours.
She pressed the keys slightly, and the sound made her head shake hard.
“I need to call a technician to tune this thing up,” she says, and that she did.
The technician arrived the next day with a large bag at hand, probably her tools.
“Good day, Ms. Bae? You called for piano tech service?” she asked as Irene opened the door.
“Yup, that’s me. Are you the piano technician?” she eyed the woman carefully.
She looks harmless, probably the same age as her. But she’s surprised by that fact alone. She thought techs would be someone of age and mostly, they’re guys. But the woman in front of her is the total opposite of what she’s expecting. Also, she spoke with a man yesterday so this doesn’t sum up.
The woman smiled, “Yep! You’re probably surprised to see a young woman at your door. Don’t worry, I get that a lot,” the woman giggled but that only made Irene feel guilty. Her facial expression must’ve given her away.
“I’m sorry if my face showed my surprise. I spoke with an old man yesterday so I wasn’t really expecting someone young. We’re probably the same age. But don’t worry, I’m not doubting you in any way!”
The tech just giggled at her frantic face, “It’s alright, Ms. Bae. My dad has trained me at such a young age that fine-tuning pianos for me felt like a walk in the park. And you probably spoke with my dad. He usually mans the shop so he always answers the phone.”
Irene only nodded, amazed by that fact. That’s when she realized that they’re still standing by her door.
“Oh, right! Come inside. I’ll get you some drinks. Do you prefer juice, coffee, or tea?”
“Tea sounds nice, Ms. Bae. Thank you for the offer.”
She was about to proceed to the kitchen when she looked back at the tech. “The piano’s just right across the living room if you like to take a look at it now. I’ve just dusted it off.”
“Alright. I’ll look at it now.”
She stood up with her bag of tools and walked towards the lone piano by the wall. The piano’s walnut and mahogany case created a huge contrast to the modern setup of the place.
“A Steinway & Sons K model. This particular one’s probably made around the 1930s in the Hamburg factory. One of the few K models made before the factory was destroyed,” Wendy spoke as she ran her fingers along the ivory white keys— a sign that the piano had indeed been produced before the 1950s where ivory was replaced by plastic keys.
Irene is beyond impressed. Yes, she plays one and is really good at it, but she’s not the one to dive deep into its history. All she knows is that they bought it second-hand in a local music shop back in her hometown.
“Okay, I didn’t know that. That’s really impressive of you.”
The tech smiled shyly at the sudden compliment, “Well, it’s just this particular model’s really close to me. We had one in our shop when I was a kid so I’m quite familiar with it.”
Irene came back with two cups of tea at hand. She handed the tech her cup before sipping on her own.
“Right, before anything else, how should I address you?” it’s just then when she remembered that the tech hadn’t introduced herself yet.
“I almost forgot! I’m Son Wendy. Up to you how you want to call me. But Wendy’s fine.”
Irene smiled at the name. Wendy, she repeats it inside her head.
“In that case, call me Irene.”
Once the drinks are done, Wendy starts in no time. She can’t deny that she’s thrilled to fix this piano up, especially that she’s very familiar with how it's made.
“Was this brand new when you bought it?”
Irene shook her head. “No. My parents just saw that in a local music shop and the owner said that it’s a hand-me-down by his grandmother but had to let it go, unfortunately. Though he said that he had it tuned up after it was handed to him.”
Wendy could only nod. She observed the exterior of the instrument, running her hands against the varnished walnut. “I must say, it looks great for a piano of this age. Normally, it’ll have discolorations and wear but it seems like the store you bought it from had already fixed that before,” she then proceeded to press the keys and that’s when she grimaced.
“But I agree, we need to tune this baby up.”
Wendy wore her gloves and unraveled the contents of her bag. Irene can’t help but watch Wendy do her magic.
She removed the top cover and the upper panel of the instrument. What greeted them is the insides full of dust and cobwebs accumulated in the storage room.
Wendy observed the inside and noticed several worn hammers, rusted strings, torn muffler felt, and a lot more that would probably take her days to fix.
Irene noticed the unreadable look on Wendy’s face. “Is it that bad?”
“Well…. I won’t probably finish this today, to say the least. I didn’t expect the internals to have suffered this bad. But the good thing is that it’s still playable.”
“It’s alright. I’m not in a rush to fix it but I do hope to play it soon.”
“Can we do a soundcheck first to see how bad the tuning is?”
Irene nodded and proceeded to sit in front of the piano, positioning herself gracefully as she would always do before starting her piece.
At that moment when Irene started playing, Wendy couldn't help but see flashbacks from before.
She suddenly found her to be familiar, like, she’s seen her before.
And even though the piano was out of tune, Irene still manages to make it sound decent that it’s quite comparable to those cheap brand new pianos of today.
“I think I’ve seen you before,” Wendy unconsciously said out loud that Irene stopped playing and looked at her curiously.
“Maybe a few years back. I think I’ve watched one of your recitals before.”
This got Irene curious. It’s not every day you get to meet one of your audience at a random time.
“Where have you seen my recital?”
“I think it was back in Daegu when I had my vacation at my grandparents’ house. My grandfather asked me to come to watch a recital. That was ten years ago.”
Irene was surprised because, yes she did have recitals in Daegu since she lived there, but also if it was ten years ago, that’s her first recital ever.
“Irene… Bae… Bae…” Wendy repeated her name again and again until a lightbulb lit inside her brain, “Yes! That was you! I remember now.”
Irene can’t help but smile at the thought. She met someone who witnessed her beginnings. The fact that Wendy remembered her by face made her lips curve upward unconsciously.
“As much as I wanted to see you play like that, we can’t really do that unless we fix this beauty.”
Irene observed the insides of the piano and nodded in agreement. “Yeah, I agree. That’s not really looking promising.”
Soon enough, Wendy went back to fixing the piano as Irene excused herself to finish some academic tasks.
“Will you be fine on your own there? I'll just be in the living room.”
“Don’t worry about me, Ms. Bae. I’ll reach out if I need to ask something.”
If this was another technician, Irene would probably stick around as she doesn’t think she’d trust her baby to a random person.
But with Wendy, she can’t put a finger on it but she felt this connection that she can entrust her piano fully to the woman.
She thought that maybe it’s because of the way Wendy knows a lot about this particular model or the fact that they have indirectly met before.
But anyway, at least she can leave her in peace.
It took a little extra effort for Wendy to remove all the parts that have to be removed. With how well this piano has been built and repaired, it’s actually hard to remove some parts as they are well-attached.
“Well, at least I don’t have to tear the whole thing apart.”
So far from what she’s seen, she only needed to replace about 10 sets of strings; four sets from the second octave, two from the fifth, and four from the seventh. And then, she had to tune all 88 keys afterward.
She’s a bit thankful that this is an upright and not a grand. Or else, it’ll take her a full week or more to finish everything.
And then she started.
From what she can remember, there’s about four sets of research papers that she needed to read for today. Advance reading is a habit she’s developed over time and even if it’s the holiday break, she wants to be ready.
But after what seems to be about five hours or so, the remaining three sets were left untouched, with another one on her hand- the one she’s been holding for the past five hours.
Every time she’s about to start reading a paragraph, her eyes would divert to the short-haired technician tinkering on her baby.
No, she’s not worried that she might break it. That’s not it.
She’s just.. Fascinated, for the lack of a better term.
The way the young technician skillfully removes the worn-out parts without hesitation, or the way her brows would knit when there’s a stubborn part that won’t move. She’s fascinated by the vast facial expressions the woman has made for the past five hours.
So yes, she wasn’t able to finish even one paper because she’s too busy observing the young technician.
“Alright, I guess that’s it for today.” She stretched her arms up before gathering all the mess and tools lying around.
And that brought Irene back to earth.
“Oh, you’re done for the day?” she asked as she stood up from the couch and approached the woman.
“Yep. It’s better if I just start putting the new strings tomorrow so it will be consistent,” Wendy then looked at Irene, “will it be okay if I come back tomorrow? Maybe you have plans or you’ll be out.”
Well, in truth, she does have a plan. She was planning to buy some holiday gifts for her friends and family. She doesn’t like doing it during the days nearing holiday to avoid crowds so she always makes sure to do that tedious task at least two weeks before the holiday itself.
“Tomorrow’s fine. I’ll be here so you can come back tomorrow.”
Well, there’s a huge sale coming up anyways so she can set the shopping aside for now. Also, she didn’t forget to send a quick text message to her best friend, containing apologies and a request to reschedule.
“Great! Would you prefer that I come during the morning or the afternoon?”
“Come by in the morning. You can have your breakfast here,” she answered a little too fast for her liking.
Wendy noticed that but didn’t comment. Instead, she gave Irene a full smile before she grabbed her stuff.
“Alright then. I’ll drop by around eight in the morning so I can finish this faster.”
If she could recall, this is the second cup of tea that she had this evening.
Irene loves tea. Well, it’s because she can’t stand coffee so tea is her next best shot. She loves the soothing effect it has on her, especially during night times, so she can have a peaceful sleep.
But it’s the second cup and she hasn’t winked even an ounce of sleep yet. She looked at the blaring red digits by her nightstand which says it’s two hours past her bedtime which is normally at eleven in the evening.
She’s not really troubled if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s more like, she can’t wait until it’s morning already, that kind of feeling.
She’s not really sure.
Maybe she’s just excited to have her piano fixed as soon as possible.
Irene nodded to herself. Yes, that must be it.
Normally, aside from tea, she’d play a piece or two if she can’t fall asleep. But right now, it’s a little impossible to do so with her piano disassembled like that.
Well, she could always hum to herself.
And that, she did.
Fantasia for Piano in F Minor
She memorized that piece note by note, by heart to the point that she could literally sing it inside her head without missing a beat.
And once she felt the mattress hit her back, she started humming, trying to lull herself to sleep.
And amazingly, it worked. Or maybe it’s because of the soft sound of the familiar piano in the background that she could hear from the other side of her bedroom wall.
Whether it’s all imaginary or her mysterious neighbor finally decided to play the piece again, she’ll never know because the next thing she knows, she has already succumbed to dreamland.
Lack of sleep makes her extra cranky during the mornings. Her university best friend, Seulgi, has witnessed this a lot of times before. As per her best friend, Irene needs approximately 7.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep to function as a pleasant human during the mornings.
She only had six hours. She should be cranky at the moment.
But here she is, seven-thirty in the morning with a subtle but cheerful smile on her face, donned in a light beige apron and her hair tied into a messy bun.
The apartment was filled with the smell of eggs and toast, with Irene diligently preparing some gilgeori toasts and some kimchi jjigae on the side. She didn’t forget the steamed egg for a fuller breakfast to start the morning.
The water boiler started to whistle on the side. She grabbed two empty cups and two bags of tea from her stash.
Now, the perfect breakfast has been set, she only has to wait for about five minutes before the clock strikes at eight.
Right on the dot, a knock was heard. Irene had to control her smile. She’s been smiling a lot this morning, which is weird for her who only had six hours of sleep.
Checking herself one last time in the mirror, she strides her way gleefully towards the door and opened them with a smile she tried her best not to overdo.
“Good morning, Irene!” Wendy greeted with the same cheerful energy as always.
“Good morning, Wendy! I hope you have an appetite this morning as I’ve prepared something to show my appreciation.”
As soon as Wendy entered the room, the smell of home-cooked breakfast immediately hit her nose.
If she’s gonna be honest, she already had a dumpling or two before heading here. But with that smell entering her senses, she could always have another round of breakfast.
“Woah, you’re not kidding when you said that I can have breakfast here.”
“That’s why I told you to come by in the morning. It’s been a while since I made proper breakfast so I would like to take this opportunity.”
Wendy was torn between being shy or giving in. Irene has been nothing but welcoming to her but she doesn’t wanna take advantage of her kindness.
“Please, help yourself. Don’t be shy about it.”
Wendy then decided that she thinks it’s fine to be friendly.
As they were eating, Irene observed the technician’s face. As usual, she always has this animated face whenever she reacts to something. And this time wasn’t any different.
“I take it that you like the food?”
Wendy finally looked at the homeowner and smiled. “Yes! It definitely tastes like home! I was only expecting morning tea but you made a full meal. Thank you so much.”
“Great! It’s been a while since I cooked breakfast like this. I’m glad that you like it.”
“Oh, why is that? Don’t you cook for yourself?” It was a genuine question that Wendy’s curious about. She realized yesterday that the woman lives alone so she thought that she does everything by herself, for herself.
“It’ll be a waste of effort if I cook and I’ll be the only one eating. I’d rather drop by early at the university and have my breakfast there. So I guess you can say that this is refreshing for me. It’s a nice change.”
Wendy can’t help but smile warmly at the answer. From the looks of it, it seems like Irene likes doing things like this. It’s just that it’s not really practical if she lives alone.
“Well, I’m honored to have a taste of your cooking, then.”
Breakfast went by in bliss and Wendy’s already back in front of the partly disassembled piano. She’s preparing the set of new strings to be attached, which she planned on finishing today.
The two worked in silence for the rest of the morning, with Irene typing away on her laptop and Wendy on the piano. It wasn’t until Irene heard a rumbling sound that she decided to look away from the screen and to the wall clock above the piano.
She didn’t notice that it’s already past one and if it wasn’t for that rumbling sound, which isn’t hers, she wouldn’t know that it’s lunchtime already.
“Sorry about that,” the technician mumbled softly with a hint of embarrassment but Irene only giggled at her. She, too, could feel her stomach throwing tantrums anytime now.
“Are you okay with japchae and pork belly for lunch? I think there’s also soup here somewhere.”
“It’s alright, Irene. I can order so-”
“Please, it’s alright! Just give me thirty minutes and I’ll be done with lunch. No need to order.”
Wendy was about to protest some more but the woman was already in the kitchen, preparing the ingredients for two servings.
“Uh, if you don’t mind, maybe I can help?”
And that’s how the two ended up in Irene’s kitchen, moving with coordination, cutting the preparation time in half. And in less than twenty minutes, all food is served.
One thing Irene noticed is that Wendy seems to know a lot about the kitchen. The way she moves around with ease and sureness, with that concentration on her face.
If one could see them from the outside, one would think that they’ve been cooking together ever since.
“I hope I didn’t ruin anything,” Wendy mumbled as she eyed Irene who’s about to taste the soup Wendy had cooked.
Once her spoon went to , it took Irene a few seconds to react.
The longest second of my life, Wendy thought.
But all nervousness had washed away once Irene’s lips slowly curled into a smile, with her eyes closed as if savoring the taste that just hit her taste buds.
“Oh my, this is so good! So much better than what I had in mind.”
Wendy smiled upon seeing the homeowner’s reaction.
“It’s a recipe my mom taught me. She said that it came from my great grandmother then it was passed down through generations.”
“Wow, no wonder it feels so… how do I put it? Personal? Like, it’s something you won’t find on the internet. Something that’s made with love.”
If Irene were to be very honest right now, she really wanted to ask Wendy for the recipe. It’s just that something about the taste hits her preference perfectly. Like, it’s a taste she’s been seeking for a long time.
But of course, she understands that it’s a family recipe. And she respects that.
“I’m glad that you like it! I’ll tell my mom about it.”
For the rest of the afternoon, they went back to each of their tasks at hand, with Wendy determined to finish putting all the strings and replacement parts, while Irene trying to finish reading the paper she’s been reading since the day before.
And just like yesterday, the clock struck five faster than they can remember. With Wendy bidding another goodbye and Irene inviting her for breakfast again tomorrow.
This time, Irene didn’t waste the remainder of her afternoon as she went out to buy some kitchen supplies enough for two people.
“I think I’ll be able to finish this today,” Wendy said as she observed the hard work she’s done the past two days.
The inside of the piano looks far from its previous state— no cobwebs in sight, all hammer felts and dampers looking new, no loose springs and all strings perfectly attached. She finished quite a lot the day before so all there’s really need for her to do now is finish the tuning.
“It’s amazing that our shop happened to have the exact strings used in this particular model. Normally, you would have to ask for a replica of the bass strings from a string manufacturer but it just so happened that we have some back at the shop that’s specific for this model.”
Wendy smiled at her handiwork. She’s fixed up many pianos before but for some reason, fixing this one up feels different. It doesn’t really feel like she’s been hired by a client to fix some piano. It felt more like she needed to restore this piano back to its glory. She needed to hear it play at its best again. She felt deeply connected with it.
“You’ve done a superb job, Wendy. I didn’t expect that you’d finish within three days,” Irene spoke as she stood beside Wendy, admiring the bare instrument in front of them.
“I can’t really explain but it’s like I know the insides of this piano and how each part works so it was quite easy for me to spot broken and worn out parts.”
Weird as it might sound, but that’s really how Wendy feels.
For the last day of the repair, Irene helped Wendy as she tunes each string. Wendy prefers that Irene presses the keys so that it’ll sound like how the owner would play it. She knows that this will probably take her the whole day and she’s just glad that her ears are in their best condition right now.
Oh, right. Did she mention that she’ll have to tune around 230 strings or so?
Irene was really, really fascinated now that she’s up close with the technician. She knows that most technicians nowadays use those modern electronic tuners but seeing as how Wendy’s holding a tuning fork, she can’t help but be amazed.
“A tuning fork?” she had to ask.
“Yep! I tried using the electronic tuners but I guess my ears are already accustomed to tuning forks. I find tuning with them much faster than electronic tuners.”
Well, it’s pretty satisfying to hear that ‘ding’ sound, especially when the string finally matches with the tune.
It probably took the whole day before they’re down to the last octave. Irene has excused herself earlier to cook them some (late) lunch, at three in the afternoon.
Wendy inserted some rubber wedges on the newly installed strings so they could normalize faster. That’s one problem of changing just a few strings instead of whole. It will take some time before they normalize like how the older strings are.
Lunch was fast since they’re dedicated to finishing tuning it. The adrenaline is slowly coming back to the pianist especially now that her baby is so close to being fresh again.
Probably another hour or two has passed when Wendy finally tuned the very last string that she gave out a satisfied sigh as she pulled the tuning lever out.
She looked at the woman beside her and she could see the huge smile on the pianist’s face, concentrating on the instrument in front of them. It was such a refreshing smile that she couldn’t help but admire it.
“Would you like to try it first before I close it up?”
Irene doesn’t need a second thought.
She positioned herself on the familiar piano bench, and with her practiced playing stance, she lowered her fingers to the white ivory keys that felt so familiar to the touch.
And then, she pressed the first note.
If there’s one way that Wendy would describe how she’s feeling right now, one might think that she’s a celestial being who transcended to the heavens and back.
It might be an exaggeration but she can’t think of a better metaphor than that.
She felt like she was brought back to the first time she saw the Irene Bae in her element. The day when she was about to argue with her grandfather for dragging her out to watch a recital with him, only to be astonished in the middle of the performance. Never had she been so thankful for her grandfather’s insistence.
But then, she felt that it goes far beyond that. With this particular piece that Irene’s playing right now, she felt something that’s worth decades of emotions that she can’t really understand.
She knows this piece by heart. Her father used to play it. Her grandfather, and so on. She’s heard this a lot of times. Her father said that it was his grandmother’s favorite piece— the same grandmother who created that spectacular soup Irene loved so much.
“Fantasia for Piano by Schubert…” was all she was able to mumble, but Irene heard it.
“Oh, you know this piece? Would you like to play it with me?”
Wendy isn’t the greatest pianist out there, and definitely not at Irene’s level. But of all the pieces she tried to learn, this one is by far the best she’s at. It’s probably because of how her father would always play it when she was young, or even her grandparents whenever she visits them.
So, if Irene asked her to play another title, she’d shake her head politely.
But since it’s this piece, instead of a verbal answer, she walked towards the pianist and sat beside her, positioning herself as the secondo.
“Perfect! I’ll play the primo.”
When Irene said that she really wanted to have a duet with her mysterious neighbor again, she really meant that. She never had such a connection playing Fantasia than with the said neighbor.
That was until now, with Wendy Son beside her.
They’re literally and figuratively connected, by hip and note.
It was like when she played it that night; the feeling of connection, that burst of emotion through every note and bar, through every of the keys. It’s that same exact feeling, or probably a lot stronger than that.
From the first movement until the finale, neither of them missed a note. The piece was perfectly executed, even far greater than how Irene would normally do so on stage with a different person playing secondo.
She was left spe