I am on the metro, the green line headed north. A friend walks on at Mt. Vernon Square. I am delighted to have this random run-in.
Hi, what are you doing here?
I heard you were on the metro so I thought I would ride with you.
Really? But you are getting off in two stops. (at U Street).
I know. But I wanted to spend a time with you and this seemed like a good idea.
We sit together for the two stops and then he gets off.
I am looking in the mirror. A mustache is growing in. I am torn because at first I am horrified that I haven’t noticed it before now and why haven’t I taken care of this yet. But maybe it is cool. I reach up to touch the area above my upper right lip. I wake up.
I have lost most of this dream, and this seems willful. My memory of the dream fades in – I am in my high school (a long one-floor building, with classrooms on either end and the athletic facilities in the middle) and it takes considerable time to get from one side of the building to the other. (In reality it was 4 – 5 minutes; in my dream it closer to 10 – 15 minutes.) I have to go back and forth from one end of the building to the other. But really I am just traveling from one end to the other, continually going from point A to B, and my dream is on a loop. I am always leaving the same class (civics or government) and leaving late – so late that the teacher monitoring the hallway is out there writing people late slips. It clearly doesn’t matter how long it is going to take to get from one side to the other – I am late before I leave point A. I know I have cruised by him before and been on my merry way negotiating the hallways to my next class. He is tall and lanky, leaning on a make-shift podium which is like a big cat scratching post. (He reminds me of my two favorite science teachers in high school.) Today he is already giving someone—actually someones, two people who are share a pass—when he catches me verbally. I was skirting him and his station, clutching my books to my chest. (The awake me knows the face I am making. It is the “don’t look at me, I am going somewhere, pay no attention to me” but with a pleasant sort of blank look.)
You’re late, he tells me, I need to write you a late pass.
But they know. This happens all the time.
Rachel, I still need to do it.
And so he writes me a pass.
I round the corner at which he is posted, and start down the hall. I am upset and embarrassed that I was given the pass; not that I am going to be late or get in trouble, but that an exception was not made. I walk by the other classrooms and look at the students in the classrooms, learning. The hallway morphs for a moment and looks like the outside of my 6th grade classroom which was right next to the main office. Then I am back in the modified version of my high school hallway.
I have an encounter/conversation with a couple people in the hall. One of them is Tim Plant (the director of development at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company). We end up walking together in the same direction. We negotiate our way through the “school store” which is in the middle of the hallway. The architecture is much more narrow here and all the racks of clothing (which are like bad-out-of-style donation center clothes) are closing in. Tim is walking ahead of me. He struggles a little to negotiate around the racks because he is taller and bigger. He scoots around a large standing rack and then is no longer in the dream. There are now pine trees, Christmas trees, everywhere. I have to push my way past them. The offices ladies are trying to untangle strings of twinkle lights; they are decorating the trees. I keep knocking my books out of my hands and dropping objects and have to walk back and forth over/by them (they are crouched on the ground).
I’m so sorry. Excuse me. Pardon me.
I hate that I keep getting in their way. They are pleasant about it and reassure me that it is not a big deal. They ask if they can help me, and I say: No, I am just trying to get to class. (I think the conversation was longer.) We talk more; I have a good relationship with them. I wake up.
(It’s strange – I don’t remember it being crowded at the school… or there being any students or people in the hallways other than what I mentioned. But they were definitely there – in the classrooms. I know that.)
And I think to myself, awake, I just had a dream. But then my mind starts working on how to go back to sleep. And the thought about the dream starts fighting its way to the forefront of my brain again. It is almost like I was trying to sabotage myself and not allow myself to remember this one.