by Dayana Stetco
Theories of flight begin with the impossibility of flight. Take a boy, for instance. Any boy. At 20, he still believes in close encounters of the third kind, survival of the fittest, and affairs of the heart, the ones he’s read about, in which the lovers die together, holding hands. That’s what the movies teach him, that’s what he knows.
Where does he go when he leaves the cinema? What does he want?
He has amazing regenerative powers, so every time he tries to fly and falls, he picks himself up and tries again, until his insides bleed, until his damaged frame no longer feels the pain. It’s ok. He’s a boy. Eventually, he’ll learn. His body is of little consequence to him. He shouts this from his balcony on sultry afternoons when the sun makes people drowsy. He spoils their siesta. He eats, he lusts, he sleeps. Sleep is his religion. Every day, despite conscious efforts to the contrary, he learns a new gesture of affection. Every day, he casts a casual glance in the mirror, sensitive to the minutest change. Time passes.
On the eve of his 21st birthday he writes: “I solemnly swear that, if 20 years from now, I haven’t changed the world and found the love of my life, I will kill myself.” Twenty years later, on his birthday, he finds the note tucked away in an old issue of Time magazine. He reads. He tears the note into little pieces. All this childishness. This arrogance. He closes his eyes and cries. Vulnerability suits him. He looks good vulnerable. With his eyes closed he reminds me of the 20-year-old boy.
I never loved him. I never loved the boy. I loved the possibility of him.
Dayana Stetco’s book, Seducing Velasquez and Other Plays, was released by Ahadada Books in 2009. Her fiction, plays, and translations have appeared in Requited, ElevenEleven, Two Lines, Packingtown Review, The Fairy Tale Review, Emergency Almanac, Masque and Spectacle, and others. She is the artistic director of The Milena Theatre Group.