Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Here’s a dream from last night.

My brother and I share a small cabin on our family’s compound. We each have a twin bed. I keep my nightstand in front of the cabin, near a picnic table. I’m preparing for school, which is nearly over. I collect odds and ends from the top of my nightstand, all junk left there by others. This is a regular morning task and inconvenience.

I return to dressing, my left hand still filled with coins, ticket stubs, used gum. It’s hard to focus on tasks, but I’m in good spirits. School is nearly out. I notice that my dad has brought out a keg of the beer he brews; he’s sharing a beer with my brother. Before school! That’s great. I hurry so I can join them for a quick one.

The keg is under my nightstand, which I notice is again littered. I go to tidy it, shoving the junk into the nightstand’s drawer. I think to tweet “Just sorting drawers, as I do when I’m running late.” The thought amuses me. I reach to my pocket for my phone, but it isn’t there. I’ll need to find it before I leave. I search the area around the cabin, including my brother’s nightstand, which is inside the cabin beside an open window.

Returning to the cabin door, I see the keg has been put away. I open the door to find a man dressing just inside. He apologizes; he needed a place to change into a suit before his shoot and the bathroom was taken. I hear the shower running. When it stops, a short pregnant woman emerges, wrapped in a towel. They’re actors who have rented the cabin for the day. This is common in my family. It was assumed I’d already be at school. I say I’ll get out of their way. I tell them about my nightstand and the tweet I’ve planned. I show them the contents of my left hand—now large plastic pennies and a shell, like a child’s treasures.

I’m driving and wondering, what if I didn’t return to school? I can’t even remember what I’m studying. I’d probably have to take one make-up class this summer. I wonder if I would take an easy remedial math or advanced trigonometry. I know I’m good at math and this gives me satisfaction. I arrive at school. It’s changed a lot since I was a student. I go to the library to research an assignment. All I need is Books in Print listing on “villains.” I could do this anywhere, really, but I like the idea of doing it here. I find the volume, noting the familiar layout of the place, and how much smaller the library seems now that I’m an adult. I photocopy the page and go to the restroom. I feel studious and accomplished. As I leave, I realize I’ve misplaced my glasses. I retrace my steps. The library is closing. Lights out, doors shut, chairs moved to block passages. I return to the room in which I found my listing. Inside are cartoonish monsters who seem to be in discomfort. I don’t want to bother them; I just need my glasses.

I return to the check-out desk for help, but the librarians are distracted. I see someone giving a child a tour of the library. I decide to make another look around. As we come to a stair where one of us must give way, the child falls into a seizure. I lay down beside him until it ends. When I stand, my presence has been noticed. The tour guide wants to know who I am and why I’m there. I genially reply that I’m a former student and tell her about my research. She stiffens. I’m nice but realize I’m trespassing. A librarian asks me to leave. I tell him about my missing glasses. He offers to pay for them from discretionary funds. As he writes out a receipt, I think of my spare pair at home. Maybe I’ll keep the money.

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