Winter 1998. The white elephant, a shiny 747 airbus stands in brilliant contrast against the backdrop of the cold, grey day, sitting quietly on the tarmac, as she contrives to do the seemingly impossible: to fly.
The entire voyage, runway to runway, Warsaw to New York, Okecie to JFK, East to West, from the past to the future in a highly evolved Boeing Time Machine takes more or less a nine-hour spell. The flight pattern, in reverse-New York to Warsaw-with the tailwind from the jet stream, is a seven-hour trajectory, a strangely befitting metaphor, which tells us that it invariably takes longer to leave a place than it does to return to it. But, returning is not an option…not this time. As she awaits the plane’s taxi down the slick runway, our protagonist, the slight, seventeen-year-old Polish girl seated in 17 F, contemplates the series of interconnected incidents behind her present space-time coordinates.
Born to a pair of Polish actors, Grazyna Dylag and Aleksander Mikolajczak, Izabella Anna Mikolajczak made her first appearance in Lodz, Poland on January 21, 1981 at 3:15 a.m. And on that first morning, Izabella demonstrated a flare for the dramatic, momentarily strangled by her umbilical cord. She arrived unharmed.
Growing up in Warsaw, Izabella became privy to the dogmatic nature of the communist regime that ruled over Poland with an iron fist. Bread lines at 5 a.m. were simply a reality that figured into the daily routine of our heroine. To escape the hazards of the impoverished landscape, Izabella dreamed of becoming a ballerina. She learned to dance before she could walk. Unfortunately in Poland, ballet school does not begin until the age of nine, therefore Izabella attended the Chopin School on Miodowa Street in central Warsaw, where she studied piano. She walked the hallowed halls of the Chopin School for three years.
When she was ten years old she auditioned for the National Ballet School in Warsaw (two blocks away from the Chopin School, just across the street from the famous Grand theatre). Nine-year old Izabella, after three auditions and finally a rejection, persuaded the entrance committee, who were convinced that she was not flexible enough, to grant her temporary admission to the school for a six-month probationary period.