Waiting to see Dances with Wolves, I was interviewed by a brother-sister documentary team that wanted the Native American reaction to the film.
"I'm waiting in line to see the movie," I said. "So how can I have a reaction?"
"What do you predict your reaction to the film will be?" the brother asked.
I thought they were dumbass white liberals on a racism scavenger hunt. But they were young, white, beautiful, and so earnest that I was charmed.
"Give me your number," I said. "And I'll call you later to tell you what I think."
"Why don't you come to our house tonight?" he asked. "And we'll get you on tape there."
A few hours later, I walked through their open front door to see them slow-dancing in a way that was, well, incestuous. I thought to leave, but he called me over and filmed me dancing with his sister. We danced and smoked weed for hours.
I slept alone on their couch and left the next morning before they woke. I thought I'd been in a PG-rated David Lynch movie and figured I'd never see them again. But a week later, the brother called me and asked me to come to a party. And once again, we got stoned and he filmed me dancing with his sister. For the next six months, once or twice a week, we'd repeat the ceremony. And then, in September, she kissed me good night. She aimed for my cheek, hit my neck instead, and I was in love.
"Hey," I said. "Do you want to go see a movie sometime?"
She looked at her brother.
"You want to fuck my sister! You want to fuck my sister! You want to fuck my sister," he screamed and ran at me. He took a swing, but I dodged it and pushed him away. He kept screaming at me as I walked away, shocked, yes, but with a great story to tell at parties.
One year later, at 3 a.m., my phone rang, but I let it go to the message machine.
"Hello, it's me. Are you there? Can you please pick up the phone?"
It was her, the sister, drunk and weeping.
"Please talk to me," she said. "Pick up the phone. Come and get me. Please. Get me out of here."
I didn't pick up the phone. I didn't run to her rescue. And I never heard from her again.
As for Dances with Wolves, I hated it because the white man flees at the end and leaves the Indians to be slaughtered. And I realized that I'd left a sad white woman to an unknown fate. I was the Indian who saved himself, but I didn't feel anything like a hero.