Flying Solo
by Ralph Fletcher who gave his permission to use his words
in this Readers' Theater for Chapter 1

Narrator 1: Rachel lay in bed, reading, waiting until the last possible minute when she absolutely had to put down her book and get out of bed.  She read sliently:

Narrator 2: (monotone) ďMany people believe that it is the air passing under the wings that supports the plane as it flies.  In fact, it is the air passing over the wings that provides the lift that keeps the airplane in the air.Ē

Mom:   Rachel!  Címon, gal, shake a leg!

Narrator 1: Rachel sighed and considered her collection of aviator posters around her bedroom.

Narrator 2:   She didnít look forward to school much these last six months.  There wasnít much to enjoy, except Mr. Fabiano.  ..and she had not spoken for six months.

Narrator 1: Not since Tommy Feathers...

Narrator 2: Tommy Feathers annoyed her!  He was always smiling at her...

Narrator 1: And humming loudly...

Narrator 2: He was kind of slow.

Narrator 1: ...already been kept back twice....

Narrator 2: ...so he was two years older than anybody else in the sixth grade.

Narrator 1: ...and it was no secret that he was in love with Rachel.

Narrator 2: ...Every day he tried to give her cards and stories...

Narrator 1:  and seashells...

Narrator 2: ...but that day, it was a huge chunk of raspberry pie!

Narrator 1:     She tried not to be mean, but he really got on her nerves.

Rachel:  I really donít like sweets.  Here, take it back.

Narrator 2: ....but after school, would you believe it?  He showed up at her house!

Tommy: (Forrest Gump voice)   I made you a whole pie.  A whole pie made from yellow raspberries.  Theyíre like gold.  Gold is my favorite color.

Narrator 1:  Rachelís mom tried to help.

Mom:  Golden raspberries?  Really?  How marvelous!  I never heard of such a thing!

Tommy:  We picked them in New Hampshire.  In New Hampshire.

Rachel:  I told you I donít like pies.  I donít eat sweets.  How many times do I have to tell you?

Mom:  Well, I certainly do!  Thank you, Tommy.  Iím going to enjoy every bite.

Narrator 2:  That was on October 28th.

Narrator 1:  The next morning, her best friend Missy phoned to tell her the news...

Missy: Tommy Feathers is dead.  Died in his sleep.

Rachel: (whispering) Oh, my God.

Narrator 2: Rachel had not spoken since that moment.

Narrator 1: Her mom talked to her.

Narrator 2: Begged.

Narrator 1: Cried.

Narrator 2: Pleaded.

Mom:  Why wonít you talk to your mother?

Narrator 1:  Rachel wrote on a small pad...

Narrator 2:  I canít.

(Doorbell)

Mom:  Hi, Missy.

Missy:  Hi, Mrs. White.   Hi Rachel, you look terrific.  You always look smashing in that skirt.

Mom:  Keep your eyes peeled on the way to school, Rachel.  If you spot that voice of yours lying on the ground, well, just pick it up and bring it home.

Narrator 1:  Rachel closed her eyes and nodded.  Mom said the same thing, word for word, every morning.

Narrator 2:  But this morning ...this day...was going to change not just her life...

Narrator 1:  But the lives of everyone else in her class.

Narrator 2:  It is the day her class...

Narrator 1:  her class, made up of so many individuals, each  with their own baggage...

Narrator 2: ...tries to fly solo.

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