Feb 13, 2012

Autobiography: Bette Davis

By Naveen Qazi

As a young, naive girl dressed in a frock a size too short, I inquired my mother, Ruthie Favor Davis what is this world for?
“To live it large” She said, smiling fondly at her protégé.
That was when realization seeped into hidden core of my bones and I knew I, Bette Davis is going make it large.
On the evening of 28th December 1961, the curtains parted and revealed the stale stratosphere of Broadway’s Royale Theater, a room that hovered on the brink of chaos.
 I glanced over at Frank, the director for a signal to make my appearance on stage. He nodded once and I pushed away the enormity of the occasion that overwhelmed me and let unabashed role of Maxine to take over.
 I strutted in my stubby legs towards the center of the stage. It was set up as the Mexican Inn perched on a jungle-covered hill top overlooking the sea at Puerto Barrio. The spotlight boy finally found his footing and immersed me in his floodlight.
It didn’t take long for the fans sitting in the side lines to erupt in an uprooting applause. Whistles, hoots, foot stamping and screams of men filled the entire theater. I squinted only to make out that the noise came loudest from the balcony seats.
The warm sensation of sheer gratitude filled in my heart as I took it all in. Emotions spun inside the pit of my stomach, slipping and twisting over each other like a mass if snakes.  Rush of euphoria zapped through me and my brain welled up upon the thought that: They were here, for me. They were cheering, for me. They were happy to see, ME.
“I hope you’re watching this Mamma” I whispered and tilted back my head back. I breathe in air that hovered above me, as if, to take in all the love and ovation that they showered.
For a moment, I forgot my role, ignored the steely glares of Patrick and Tennessee and walked to the end of the stage. The crowd went wild; I raised my hands above my head and gave it a great shook as if I held the world in my closed fists.
I gave everyone my awarding winning, self-satisfied smile. Only for ME, was what I thought as I looked over to Frank’s transfixed and baffled expressions, yet not ready to accept this has happened.  
“SHANNON!” I shouted, slipping back into the character as smoothly as I had slipped out.
 And the show began.


Zoha Jabbar said...

Love this! Especially the first line.

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