Who are you?
Emily Dickinson's words was how I introduced myself to the statuesque ladies sitting by the entrance of the Majestic hotel in Cannes on Saturday evening.
Without missing a beat, one of the lady replies, I'm nobody too.
Which is this the next line in the poem.
A poem she didn't know. Kindred spirit!
The three of us had an easy rapport. I told them about the girls' yearlong adventure. We discussed pathways, passions, life tangents and paying dues to move towards the dream.
I thought...thinking of myself and some dear friends...
We think we have time. But our next breathe is not assured. So why not really live the life we want? Do the work that gives us pleasure? Cobble doors when the ones we find are closed.
What happens to a dream deferred? asks Langston.
Here were these ladies living their dreams OUT LOUD. Writing, directing, dreaming, reaching, connecting.
I was in awe, like I always am when I meet strong and successful women, especially women of colour. Because you know they had to hustle.
It makes me equal parts inspired and proud.
'Have you been to a screening yet?' asked Dionne, whom I later learned was a BAFTA (think British Oscars) short-listed director of The Hard Stop.
'Well, we tried, but didn't manage it. So we came here to star gaze', I shared, 'I can't walk in these heels any more so my husband is getting our dog for the movie on the beach at midnight.'
Without saying another word, Dionne pulls out a ticket from her purse and puts it on the table. It is for Lazzaro Felice, one of the official selections in competition for the Palme D'or 2018 showing on Sunday.
Followed by verbal diarrhoea of gratitude.
Her friend Wendy Okoi-Obuli, a British screenwriter who is so warm, effervescent and full of joie de vivre, then proceeds to also offer her ticket, so that I could attend with my love.
I had no words.
I know in my gut we will meet again.
I am nobody, who are you?
Are you nobody too?
There is two of us don't tell!
They'll banish us you know.
I LOVE being a nobody. Because then you can be anybody. And as I ouched my way out of the hotel, I was now a nobody/anybody invited by newly found kindred spirits to to see a film screening at Cannes.
And what a screening it was! As my love and sat drinking deux verres de vins at the Majestic, we had no idea that in 30 hours we would be in the same theatre as Roberto Benigni of Life is Beautiful and the cast of Lazzaro Felice.
We had no idea how moved we would be by this film that tells of family, loyalty, love, greed, religion, life, exploitation, and innocence.
And about a nobody.
Just like us.