It’s like I’m dreaming but I’m awake. I am pressed against him on the couch in our old house. I see the two of us in the long front window. The colors of The Land Before Time shimmer on everything, on him and me and the rough shingles of the walls and the knotted planks under the loft. My footies wiggle in the window. Could that be right, footies?

“In the land before time it happened that the leaves began to die.”

Our window comes almost to the floor. Belly our little dog can stand on her back legs and see out. Our hill falls away fast from there. Eight tall junipers peek in at the bottom. Belly looks between the junipers for ten and twenty minutes at a time. We look too but we can’t see what fascinates her.

“The mighty beasts who appeared to rule the earth were ruled in truth by the leaf.”

I first pulled up holding this sill, my father says. I shuttled the length of it learning to walk. Nothing out that window fascinated me then: woods running down the hill beside us, pines hiding a two-lane road at the bottom, a neon roadhouse on the other side, and hills climbing again from there, all dark at night except for one blue light that winked in the haze.

“Desperate for food, the herds struck out for the west, searching for the Great Valley…”

If we turned off our lights and let our eyes adjust we could see deer moving against the trees at the bottom of our hill. They were hard to see. Sometimes you were just imagining them and they disappeared when you blinked. They moved like ghosts, shadows on shadows. Sometimes you saw one then suddenly a dozen, like the stars of the Seven Sisters the second you look away, or new stars you see when your eyes adjust. You blink and the crowd of them doubles.

“…a land still lush and green, where the treestars grow, all you could ever want. It was a journey toward life.”

I feel like I’m only dreaming those years. Dreaming me, I mean. That girl was me but nothing like me. These are her years, not mine. The years are like the deer. I blink and they disappear, or from one I suddenly see more. It depends if I’m that girl or me. I let my view slowly adjust, then blink and see the girl behind the view. I want her back but she scares me. A ghost has nothing to lose. I’m afraid to want things again.