• Mathura Hawley

touch

Updated: Aug 2, 2021


Diana came out in a red sequined dress and mile high hair. "Reach out and touch, somebody's hand," she sang softly, making her way to the front of the stage then down the stairs, "

WJ's dad dropped us off outside the Broome County Arena at 5am and we sat on our bunched up coats on the dirty sidewalk against the fence near the still dark ticket window. At 9am, a light went on in the booth and we jumped up, pulling the cash from our pockets and counting it to be ready. We were first in line and, at 16, this would be my first concert, ever. "Front row please?" I asked hopefully and a woman without emotion glared back at me. "To what?" "Diana Ross," I said in my mother's polite voice. Weeks later we sat in the dark in the front row, each holding a wrapped rose we had brought to give her, as the lights went out and the music came up and I felt a rush of queasiness as if I were on an amusement ride. Diana came out in a red sequined dress and mile high hair. "Reach out and touch, somebody's hand," she sang softly, making her way to the front of the stage then down the stairs, "...make this world a better place, if you can." The arena crowd applauded and screamed. The thousands of hours I had spent in my bedroom reading about celebrities and singing along with performers hadn't prepared me for this, for her to greet us so closely. She put out her hand to someone a few feet away as she came down our row. "Reach out and touch," she sang, offering the mic to a woman, who sang back "...somebody's hand..." Diana spotted me with the rose. My stomach turned upside down. She stepped in front of me, "...make this world a better place," she offered, taking the rose and placing the mic to my mouth. She paused. I stared. She nodded for me to sing. I stared. She gave up and sang "...if you can." I couldn't.


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