BEN WAS RIGHT about the Indians. There is one who still guards the bench. I see him there when I’m there alone. The Indian never talks to me but he knows I’m there. When I come, he stands up slowly and walks away. He is not a ghost but he has a body that shines bright. The leaves move to the side in waves as he makes his way down the hill. He wades through the deep part of the creek and comes out dry. He crosses the highway over to the open field where high-schoolers sometimes drink beer around a bonfire. He sits down next to the fire and does not speak. Nobody notices. He grows taller and taller as he watches the fire burn, and once everyone clears away and the fire is just a few embers glowing calmly under dead wood, the Indian spreads his stretched body across the field and falls asleep, dissolving into fog by morning.
I once walked the same strip of land the Indian walked, shuffling my feet across the cold ground to make sure it was safe. I walked down the hill, across the frozen creek and across the highway to the field. I raised my arms and stood on my toes to see if I’d grow tall but my feet stayed four feet from my eyes. I lay down facing the moon.
Out here, in a field carryting thousands of millions of years of history, he could be calling out to anybody.
Two tiny glints of light shone over a hill far away, speeding towards me. I pretended they were a pair of shooting stars. I tried to make two wishes but couldn’t even think of one. The car turned off the highway onto the shoulder, stopped and went dark and quiet. A man got out, looked around, and yelled up the hill, "Hey, you up there?"
It was Dad. I didn’t move. Out here, in a field carrying thousands of millions of years of history, he could be calling out to anybody. I ran my hands through the grass, which the night had made damp. I discovered a nickel-sized object and turned it around in my hand, trying to tell if it was a shattered arrowhead or a bottle cap. I couldn’t decide which it was, or even what I wanted it to be. I let it fall out of my hand and stood up.
"Dad?" I cried.
I AM 65 percent water and 35 percent bones and flesh, but if things could pass through me, I would walk across busy highways just for fun and, for 25 cents a pop, I’d let Joey shoot at me with his BB gun. I wonder if the wind would blow my hair back or just go straight through my head, and if that would feel good or if every inch of my skin would feel like my mouth does when I have a cavity. I wonder if I could make it so bad news never hit me, or even better, so no words at all ever hurt me. I wonder if I’d still be able to touch things sometimes, when I really wanted to, or if I’d have to be like that always, no matter what, all the time.