Falling

By Lehman, Eric Gabriel | Michigan Quarterly Review, Spring 2006 | Go to article overview

Falling


Lehman, Eric Gabriel, Michigan Quarterly Review


1.

The day of Regina's audition the piano player hears it the whole way heading toward Tompkins Square Park: that Chopin B-flat minor nocturne, Rubenstein's 1965 recording. You'd know the piece if you heard it, a melancholy barcarolle with a lilting core, often used in corny black and white movies from the thirties about the poor but brilliant young man in love with a woman of a better class who is terribly fond of him but leaves him after a poignant walk through a moonlit park, or some such. Rubenstein is just about to begin the legatissimo spill of notes toward the end of the piece when the piano player's heel catches on a sidewalk crack, and he careers forward, coming within inches of an old woman steering a rattly walker.

Other girls will be auditioning that day, too-Fran, Tessa, Joy, Tiffany. But he has come to think of it as Regina's audition. He wants her to do well, which is why he has decided to play the Chopin nocturne for the audition, even if he once vowed never to defile it as mere ballet exercise music. But Regina Saunders is special. She dances as none other in the Broadway School of Dance. There was a time he worried about developing a crush on her, a fourteen year old, and he is twenty-six. "You're filling the void after your breakup, that's all," was his friend Jane's explanation. "Just don't go Lolita on me, okay?" But Jane never quite understood; Regina is no mere infatuation. She is an ideal, and the piano player has always had a soft spot for perfection.

In Tompkins Square Park a clutch of Hispanic teenage girls perch on a bench in dangerously tight jeans and slicked-back hair. "You gotta just tell him," one says in a voice that carries burrs. Her dewy skin is the color of cocoa. Pretty, he thinks. She looks a little like Kim.

2.

Regina Saunders is about five six-an inch or two more wouldn't have hurt her-and slender as a willow, although she makes a point of drinking diet Coke, which is part of the dancer thing, along with hefting a large bag over the shoulder. She moves with that airless prima ballerina hauteur, duck walk, high cheekbones and all, the unchallenged star of the Broadway School of Dance, where the piano player has been working for almost a year. In a fifth position port-de-bras, arms above her head, she is a shapely vase in a leotard. This year she will try out for the National Academy of Ballet in Washington, but first she must pass the Broadway School's audition.

Her mother has told the piano player that Regina wants to go to the Academy more than anything else in the world. Her father is dead set against it, however. Mr. Saunders doesn't like ballet. Last Christmas in the taxi home from Lincoln Center after a New York City Ballet Nutcracker, he'd flapped his arms, a clunky ballerina, and Regina laughed, but not her mother. Mr. Saunders doesn't see why his only child must go so far away. "Let her join the Girl Scouts," he has said. But Regina's mother won't have her daughter traipsing around in the woods or selling cookies or wearing a dumpy uniform. She lavishes Regina with tights of different colors, lush wool leg warmers, and pink toe shoes, shiny as mica. She wants her dancing.

When the piano player first started at the Broadway School, Regina was too self-conscious to look his way and giggled past the quiet young man with a rebellious chop of hair that fell before his face as he played. He in turn hardly noticed the skinny girl with the constantly changing leotards until the afternoon she strode up to the piano and complained that he had rushed her penché, so would he mind going slower next time? The girl assumed a pose of confident defiance, chin pointed and shoulders back, not unlike that Degas sculpture. He promised to keep the tempo from then on. "Thank you," she said, pivoting around toward the barre with the precision of machinery. She was back a week later. "Do you think you could play something a little happier during the adagio? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Falling
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.