Karin Revisited

"Blind, gutsy and gifted
Karin discovers life, love
and independence through
learning how to dance."

Promo for Can You Feel Me Dancing?
[1986] starring Justine Bateman as Karin.

Karin feels the rays against her eyes & sways,
two ticket stubs in her hand, invitations inside
her carry-bag. Larry arrives presently, guiding
the cup towards her face. Coke's strong motion

against ice. Her brother's hair is spiky to touch,
of course, echo of freeway traffic in his shaking
left hand. Just like his personality. He uses chop-
sticks to make beats when they order take-out.

Always watching that show - The Fall Guy - in
between his practice, driving Karin to work &
wishing he was blind. So would that help, if I was
blind, just like you Karin?
 She heard disbelief in

his Fall Guy voice when she said she wanted
to go to The movies? What the? You? I, no way!
Reaching over to touch her arm & say sorry,
expertly removing the Coke from her grasp.

The cinema's cooling system hits Karin's face
like a museum of the dark. The preview starts
but Larry's talking about his band The Cathode
Rays & how he's been giving it some thought

& has decided to leave home. Karin's trying to
make it out, like some kind of children's movie, all
that Disney tinkling on the keys
 ... the cinema's
roaring with subliminal advertising & though

it has no obvious effect on Karin, who is to
say what might happen when an image passes
through a person, as the blip-verts did. Their
hot velocities, yesterday evening, downtown.

The premiere this afternoon is for another of
Justine Bateman's teen films. Karin lined up for
tickets all day outside the radio station offices,
on that wind-blown interstice of the new city.

Dancing makes you free. You're in an invisible
machine, standing upright, & each movement of
your body bends space & time. For Karin, that
moment before lift-off comes like a swoon, or

a screen kiss at the end of a dance. She freezes
in mid-air like Superman before a blue screen,
or a magician's assistant, supported by strings,

listening for the end of each scene. A minimum
of crowd noise, just the tube's silver surf. The
way it was that afternoon at home when she sat
& listened all the way through it. That silence

just before the evening news began, that high
& lonely message, the dead air calling home.
That cessation, at some core aural level, of her
mother's progress across the lounge's lino floor,

stunned by a headline. The moment between
dancing & love-making, then, amounts only to
a way of saying the same words, singing the
same tunes. She & Richie dance near the bar,

her feet on top of his white dancer's shoes.
Now, the moment the movie begins, Larry's
talking about his mobile phone & how when
he types in movies it mistakes it for mother &

Karin wonders if he even knows the movie's
started & that this is how it feels to fall in love.
The moment after that moment between,
When people become lovers in lanes or catch

commuter buses. That musky hum, of things
we know of that are yet to happen. Advertorial
dreams, or the snicker of a game-show hostess
off-camera. Heaters the crew might have trained

on the site of their screen love's consummation,
a warmth that she alone could not provide, not
in a sex scene, & certainly not with him. & so, in
the cinema toilet cubicle, Karin sits listening as

two girls discuss Justine Bateman's after-party
outfit, her uniform for the obligatory autograph
session (a script whose identity tends to unlock
big brass doors that hadn't even been there one

moment before). Unravelling the true import of
a winning smile or the act of peering, winsomely.
All just last week's stocktake sales to her. Parting
with her invitation at the door, Karin's hit by a

whirl of silk scarves whose dialect her skin still
remembers & then she hears the voice of Karin
& Larry's introducing her as his sister & saying
how she's blind & how she likes that other movie

she was in & Justine Bateman's going Hi Karin
& then Oh then Oh, I see & Karin's just standing
there shaking, going No. No you don't. Across the
street the last supermarket has already closed but

Karin's in the middle of the road, sensing both
the kerb & the figure she guesses is still Justine.
& she's trying to say that even though the end is
coming soon, more than TV, more than cinema

or drive-in even, how movies to come to her in
her radio-play dreams & then Justine's stopping
her, the taxi's arrived & Larry's telling her to get
in & she hasn't even said goodbye & when the

soundtrack cuts out & it's cold & Karin recalls
that she never did learn to dance, despite all of
their encouragement & now it's snowing in Los
Angeles & she's the only one here who knows.

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