— Posted by Grant (August 7, 2013 at 9:05 am)
Two individuals stroll down a dusky street: one tall, one small.
The woman, slim and wearing a fashionable red dress, is the mother, Kim. The short, wide-eyed girl holding her hand is her daughter, Liza.
The two live in the heart of New York, on the edge of a bad neighborhood, an area which they normally ignore and avoid. Tonight, however, Kimâ€™s husband has gotten two front-row tickets to Evita, and since the familyâ€™s usual sitter is on vacation, Kim is dragging her ten-year-old through the grimy streets toward an acquaintanceâ€™s home, which is actually outside of the rundown district; but, for several reasons—including their car being in for repairs, this route being a short-cut, and Kimâ€™s unwillingness to pay for a cab—here they are.
While rushing through, Kim is dreaming of the delightful dancing and marvelous musical numbers that await at the Marquis Theatre, much too busy to pay any attention to the tragic poverty around her.
This explains why, when Liza tugs on her motherâ€™s sleeve to say, â€œMommy, a bad man is hurting that woman,â€ Kim reacts as she does: turning away from the unshaven fellow—who happens to be waving a blade at a teenaged girl—and continuing to walk away as if nothing were the matter, dragging Liza with. â€œWe canâ€™t leave her,â€ insists Liza, â€œWe have to help. Thatâ€™s bad.â€
â€œOf course itâ€™s bad,â€ says Kim, wrapping a reassuring arm around her daughter. â€œBut itâ€™s that manâ€™s friend, and only he can decide whether to do the right thing or not.â€ â€œThatâ€™s not very…â€ says Liza, but her mother yanks her down the street so quickly that she swallows the words.
Kim hopes that the incident is the worst the streets have to offer, but just a few minutes later, a young man comes sprinting down the street, pulling a clearly-exhausted dog behind him on a leash, the animal near the point of collapse, but forced to continue running.
â€œMommy, look! We have to do something!â€ says Liza, pulling on her motherâ€™s hand with renewed urgency. But Kim quiets her once more.
â€œWe donâ€™t have to do anything. Itâ€™s his dog, and he should be the one to decide to treat it well.â€ This logic forces Liza to think long enough for her mother to whoosh her far from the scene.
In any case, theyâ€™re only a few blocks away. Kim mentally wipes the sweat from her brow. Very soon, sheâ€™ll be free of her daughter, free of these grimy streets, and free to admire Argentinian talent.
But fate seems to be against her that night, and before she knows it, Kim feels a final tug on her sleeve. â€œMommy, Mommy, Mommy!â€ whispers Liza, with such desperation that Kim almost stops this time.
â€œThereâ€™s a woman up there.â€
â€œIn that building.â€
â€œWhat about her?â€
â€œSheâ€™s going to drop—â€
â€œLiza, itâ€™s not our business.â€
â€œItâ€™s a baby!â€
Kim grabs her daughter by both shoulders and gives her a hard look. â€œHoney, listen to me, everyone makes choices in this world. Some are good, and some are bad. And of course, weâ€™re personally opposed to threatening others with knives and pulling dogs too quickly and leaning out the window to drop…um…things, but—â€
â€œNo!â€ Liza screams, tearing away. â€œThose are bad people doing bad things! Anyway, youâ€™re not really opposed at all. Youâ€™re just scared!â€
With that, Liza goes to be more than â€œpersonally opposed.â€
She goes to be the opposition.