When I last saw Evan Dancing Boy, he was standing still…
He stood on the thin strip of grass between the children’s playground and the gravel strewn access road to the highway. He was staring, enraptured by the firefly like burn of the sparkler he held in his hand.
Evan Dancing Boy… He truly did dance everywhere. Or skip, in that blissfully unselfconscious way that little boys are allowed when they are small, and before the world wants children to be bound by definitions and not to be just children.
Such a beautiful child. Big brown eyes like his daddy and his hair past his shoulders but blonde, like his Mama’s, my sister-in-law. I had braided his bangs to keep them off his face in the hot summer sun. He loved his auntie, we danced together often that weekend. He would run up to me, smiling his heartbreaker-in-training smile, grab my hand in his small, still toddler pudgy hand; “Dance with me Kateri”!
On the last evening of pow wow, as dusk was giving way to full dark, we brought out marshmallows and sparklers for the children. We all of us round the fire that night, family and friends, a large group, were sunshine and happiness tired. Content in a successful sharing. The children ran about, tumbling through the open spaces of the campground, in and around the tents, camper vans and the playground.
I lit sparklers along with some of the other aunties and uncles and handed them to our kids. Evan’s eyes went wide when he took his. “Like fireflies Kateri”! He said with excitement and reverence. I watched with affection, as he danced and skipped away, waving the sparkler.
Scant moments later, I turned to look and saw that he stood stalk still, further than he should be and staring into the woods just beyond the campground. His sparkler still sputtered in his hand.
“Evan! Come see your auntie”! I called but he seemed oblivious and a snake stirred in my belly as I watched the sparkler, dying now, fall from his hand and the blackness swallow up his little frame.
I started to walk, then run as the snake squirmed but when I came to the spot where he’d stood; I could see he was gone.
Only the red hot tip of the sparkler in the grass, showed that anyone had stood here in the last few moments…