Fifteen year-old River holds his little sister, Fawn Rising, up high in the air. They are in the gathering room of their precious log home. It is the only room with a real glass window. The year is 1836. The place is on a First Nation Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma.
River is on his back, legs extended upward, his sister balances on top as he holds his arms up to steady her. They like to call the pose a “flying eagle.” Others like to call it a “flying angel.”
River and Fawn are going for record time to see if they can beat their siblings who hold the current record of 32 minutes seven seconds.
River works hard to maintain a stillness and asks Fawn to stop giggling and wiggling in the event she might drool on him, which he especially dislikes.
As the clock passes the 31-minute mark, River can feel the trembling in his legs and arms. Soon it will be over and they will hold the newest family record.
Excitement builds when at last they conquer the old record. River, shaking, begins to lower little Fawn to the floor, ever so slowly. Somehow the young man loses control and steers his sister, head first, into their prized glass window, putting a rather large hole in it.
Fawn’s eyes, brimming with tears stare at him through the oozing blood from her head. A light breeze through the broken window flutters her hair.
She says not one word, only stares at her trusted big brother and then at the broken glass.
Father is going to be mad.