Imagine, if you will, that you are falling from an airplane, mind you, without a parachute. You last remembered reading the in-flight magazine, then the airplane shuddering more violently that normal. Nervous about the less than smooth ride, for reassurance you turn to your husband, but find him fast asleep with his mouth hinged open.

Now you are here although unsure where here is. You try to order the confusion into something familiar. The metal and human debris falling feet away you don’t recognize as airplane parts and passengers. This your mind will not process. You hear screams and watch several people with spread arms and legs, their hair and clothing stretched as if starched, but also rippling and unraveling. You’re not sure why they look the way they do.

Then fortunately or unfortunately, you remember. You were on a plane. You are falling. Falling to earth. You’re going to die.

You look at a woman nearby, her mouth locked in a perpetual scream. An upside man is vomiting. Another woman clasps her hands in prayer. Yet another clutches a blanket that sails alongside her like a super hero’s cape.

You need to pee and try to hold it in. You’re not sure if you succeed. Your blouse is untucked and you push the floral material inside your pants. It untucks. You try again, but the wind yanks it out. You give up.

You want to talk to someone. The attempt at formulating words mangles into gibberish. You try moving your lips with your fingers to help, but the wind steels your breath and sound. Your hands discover blood from your eyes. Something’s amiss. You’ve almost forgotten. You’d like to forget. You are forgetting. You’ve forgotten that you were on a plane awaiting the steward to bring a Bloody Mary.

You look down. A green and brown marble something — you’re not sure what — approaches. Then you remember. You know. In a few minutes you will be dead.
Suddenly you begin to sing, “What good is sitting alone in your room?” You’ve always envied Liza Minelli, and you bellow the lyrics from Cabaret loud enough for nearby Canadian Geese to hear. “Put down the knitting. The book and the broom. Time for a holiday.” You kick. You shimmy. You smile. You always wanted to be a star. Tammy from sixth grade knew but she laughed and you’ve told no one since. “Come taste the wine, come hear the band, come blow your horn,” you sing in a husky vibrato.

You believe you are more talented than Liza Minelli. You extend your arms wide, push against wind, your heart beating wildly, and invite in the audience. For the first time in your life, you are happy. You hope to land on Broadway.

Originally published in 1991 in Talking Raven, this piece has been adopted into a dance by Starr Foster Dance Project for their Stage to Page Performance.


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