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Starodetskii Blog

Dreams of flying

Konstantin Starodetskii

The story begins with the 14-year-old Elisabeth who lives in Yonkers, New York in the 1970s. She dreams of flying. She reads books about it and watches everything related to aviation on TV. Every day she talks in aviation slang. If you ask Elisabeth's family, teachers, or classmates about what her passion is, the answer always be the same - aviation. Elisabeth doesn't have access to an airplane, but every weekend she commutes for 2 hours to the JFK airport where she films how the airplanes land and take off. Elisabeth uses an 8-mm film camera from her father. Elisabeth's family doesn't have money to support her filmmaking, but it doesn't stop Elisabeth. She uses all her school allowance to buy and develop black and white rolls of film. At school, Elisabeth pretends that she has a good vision and tricks eye doctors, by memorizing the eye chart.

One day, a famous sport pilot Susan Sky, visits the school where Elisabeth studies. When Elisabeth hears that Susan Sky is coming to her classroom, she almost faints. That is the first time Elisabeth will see a real pilot. Susan Sky enters the class, and Elisabeth is the first one to greet her. She films this moment with her camera. Elisabeth's teacher Mrs. Swanson mentions how passionate Elisabeth is about aviation. Susan Sky suggests Elisabeth apply for a flight academy. That makes her stop filming for a moment, and a new idea starts to brew in Elisabeth's head. Susan Sky asks Elisabeth whether she can mail her the video clip she just filmed. Elisabeth responds that she can if Susan Sky will pay for the film, development, and mailing fees. Susan Sky laughs and agrees to Elisabeth terms. As Susan Sky gives the talk about aviation, Elisabeth devours every word she says.

Elisabeth mails the film as she promised and applies for the flight academy. She fills out the necessary papers and then heads for the eye exam. However, the eye exam turns out to be more advanced than at school, and Elisabeth fails. The doctor says that she can't fly planes like Susan Sky and tells Elisabeth that she can't attend the academy. It breaks Elisabeth's heart and makes her hide her passion inside. She stops studying aviation and buries her camera in the basement storage. Nothing excites Elisabeth anymore. Parents and teachers try to help her, but Elisabeth doesn't care about anything. She lost her drive and desire.

In the meantime, Susan Sky fires her videographer for frequent drunk episodes. She opens her mail and finds the film Elisabeth sent her. Susan Sky inserts the roll into her projector, and what she sees makes her lean closer. Susan Sky grabs the envelope and finds the sender's name and address. Then she picks up the phonebook finds the number and dials it. Elisabeth picks up the phone. She realizes who's calling, but there's no excitement about it. Susan Sky asks: "What's wrong?" Elisabeth shares her story. Susan Sky says: "I can't help you with passing the exam, but I'd like to offer you the job of an aerial videographer. I loved what you've sent me very much." Elisabeth stands in silence for quite some time. Susan Sky: "So, what do you say?" Elisabeth comes to her senses and responds: "When do I start?" Susan Sky: "That's what I'd like to hear!" The next week Elisabeth flies in the back seat of Susan Sky's aircraft and films amazing shots as they fly through the purple sky together.