Dark Lady Laughed and Danced by Emily Mack

Part One: Ephemeral

At the New York premiere of Silkwood in 1983, the room laughed when Cher's name appeared on the screen.

There is a photo from that night: Cher and Meryl Streep stand together, looking distracted and to the right. Streep’s young face seems surprised and her soft, blonde hair is upswept. Streep wore a white blazer and a white top with a lace collar, horrendously ’80s. Cher wore a dark, heavy overcoat and a gold wristwatch. Her eyemakeup was dark and heavy. In the photo, Streep’s face looks like a girl who practices looking surprised in the mirror. Cher’s face does not look surprised at all.

Willow-bodied Cher suspends herself above my head while I sleep in soft, red light. My college dorm room walls are warm christmas lights and a Moonstruck poster, creased white down the middle. It’s not an altar: we cannot light candles in the dorm.

I told the boy who I loved over the summer that he couldn’t understand me until he watched Moonstruck, not that I have much in common with its heroine, Loretta. But Brooklyn movies feel like Chicago movies when they show the bridge from the East side. I asked the boy if he wanted to come over to watch Moonstruck when my parents were gone, but he wanted to wait for it to be special. In August, Moonstruck was playing on a big screen downtown in Millennium Park for the full moon. We would go.

Read on by clinking on the link above.

Illustrated by Emma Tueller

Illustrated by Emma Tueller