And how the summers were so long. And probably, I suppose, because of all the disappointments. We built ourselves a bungalow, just father and myself, atop this mountain where the streams were packed with crayfish. The paths there were ancient and strewn with shiny beads and arrowheads, all for the collecting. On sunny days, and after rainfall, the bald rock sparkled all its minerals. You could almost see the mushrooms blooming. I found myself a friend with little Christopher, who told me secrets, and I told him mine. I’m happy to have you for my friend, he said. And you for mine, I told him. We built a tree house and carved our signs into the wood. Mine was an arrowhead, his was a star. We slept inside a tepee at the bottom of our tree and kept a fire going all night long. And then one day, as I sat upon my roof handing nails and shingles to my father, I noticed little Christopher coming up the road and I was taken by the keenest intuition. Christopher, and I, and my father and our house, and the nails and the hammer and the shingle and the ladder and the ground and the sun and the sky and the stream, and the crayfish, there. . . . We were all One. Us, all and everything was One. And Chris’s shiny hair was a golden helmet, and in his arms he held a golden sword. I sprang to my feet, shouting, Christopher! Up here! My father was taken by surprise. He turned suddenly, to grab hold of me, and lost his balance. He fell from the roof and lost consciousness. And later that day, in the hospital bed, he died. And somehow, but leave it to the logic of adults, I was never to see Christopher again.
There is a space inside that house that I have never explored. It is the attic. And when he pulled that ladder down it brought with it such warm and succulent air. How I stood into that draft, as he climbed into the shadow, sustaining myself by his love.