‘Starlight’ by Anne Beattie
From The New Yorker:
MRS. NIXON JOINS THE FINAL OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH
I said, “Oh, Ollie, we’re always glad to see you, but I don’t think we need any pictures now.”
Dick refutes me. “Oh, come on, Ollie. Take a few shots.”
Dolly gets up and suggests that we link arms. We form a line, and Ollie takes his place in front of us. I know that if I looked over my shoulder I’d see Dick smiling, seeming amused and in control, and, really, I couldn’t take that. Julie’s at her wit’s end; Dolly feels as if she’d been drawn into a whirling tornado that may eventually put her down in safe territory, but right now she can’t escape it. Julie’s been in tears. I have, too. But what happens if you’re a Rockette and you have a cold? You go out there onstage and take your position, that’s what. A bit of medicine to bolster you would make sense. But, medicine or not, out you go. Out we go, indeed! When have we not rushed ahead, despite any protests made to Dick? You smile the family smile, and you try to get through the minutes, the seconds, until the helicopter takes off, and if people want to photograph that, which they no doubt will, they’ll see nothing but a machine, rising, flying, becoming smaller, disappearing. They’ll read a lot into that.