I don’t really get to be the Indian. Or the cowboy. Or anything real, except for a guy in a weird white space suit who walks on ugly, c-r-a-t-e-r filled dirt stuffs. And I don’t like science, and I don’t like the color white. It’s boring.
I wish everybody else had left something over for me.
Sometimes Dad tells me I was born in the wrong century, that I should have been one of the pioneers of America, traveling around in a dust-filled wagon and breathing the air of new places and finding hidden hollows in the secret-filled mountains. I like Dad’s words, they sound cool when I say them.
You could say I’m o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d with it, the old things, the horses and the sunsets and America. I like America. My doctor says I’m fixated, but she’s a girl, what does she know about exploring.
Sometimes I watch riders on television, just to see the oldness of the horses. It’s kind of weird though, they just run around in circles. They don’t even go anywhere anymore, just around and around and around again.
Mom hates it when I dress up. I dress up every day, in my favorite Halloween cowboy pants and Indian feathers. She tells me I’m going to break a leg, tearing around the house like I do, but I go anyway. I have to discover new lands, new places. The world counts on me all the time.
When I’m at Dad’s house, it’s harder. Katie doesn’t want me to run; she spanks me sometimes. I don’t like her, and I had to say sorry for breaking a vase. Who cares about a stupid vase, anyway, when I protected everybody from the scalping Indians.
Sometimes I pretend I’m the cowboy, making my way alone on my horse, my sharp eyes out for trouble. And sometimes I pretend I’m the Indian, king of the land and smarter than everybody else because I can survive. And sometimes I’m just both; they’re all fun to be. Anyway, I have to be somebody.
I fight all the time. I fight so much I can’t even hear everybody else’s fighting. And they only fight when I’m around. Maybe they don’t get how much I have to practice.
Sometimes I have to invite Mom into my wagon at night so she won’t get scared by the coyotes. Mom’s like that, sometimes she just starts to get sad. I think she’s lonely, but she says she never is when I’m here. Mom’s not the smartest person, but I love her.
When I go to Dad’s house, she stands with me on the steps and holds my hand until Katie comes to the door. Then Katie smiles, opens the door so I can come in, and Mom says stuff like, “I hope
Alex has a good time, call me if you have any questions, I’m sure you’re a good mother, after all you have two and I only—.” I don’t hear the rest because Katie always closes the door before Mom finishes.
Dad says I should be making friends with Katie’s kids. I don’t want to; David only likes ice hockey, which makes me cold, and Lisha only likes boys. I like cowboys and Indians. Katie doesn’t like cowboys and Indians; I don’t think Dad likes them too much either.
Mom likes cowboys and Indians. She wishes I weren’t one, but she likes them. Sometimes we tell stories about them, under our tent. Once we even sang a song about them. I’m glad Mom can see my tent; Katie always makes me take it down.
Dad and Katie fight when I’m there. They fight a lot. Dad says they’re adjusting.
Mom says she misses me all the time when I’m not there. I tell her my big-bear spirit stays wherever I go. She says she loves me better than my spirit. I don’t know about that, my spirit’s a lot bigger than I am.
Katie and Dad were fighting a lot the last time when something hit me. I hadn’t been looking. Nobody’d ever thrown anything before.
I woke up with a dark headache, and I could hear Mom and Dad and Katie, all together at once. They weren’t yelling. My Indian feathers were gone, but not my cowboy pants, and I had something on my face. Dad always said a cowboy never cries, and neither did I.
I don’t go to Dad’s anymore. I just stay with Mom. I like Mom. I like Dad too, but I think he’ll be okay with Katie and Lisha and David. Mom needs me. And I need her too sometimes, since it’s awful hard to run around the prairie when you can’t see anymore.
Alessandra Davy-Falconi is a dragon. She currently lives in Boston where she writes to keep her brain alive. She’s been published in a few online and print venues before; if you’re really curious, Google her.