My husband looked up from his computer. “Yeah?”
“You know, the one where I’m in high school and I don’t have a schedule or a locker?”
He nodded. For some reason, I seem to have this particular dream a lot, with variations, and I usually remember it vividly.
“I had parked my car in what I thought was the main parking lot, but there were no other cars there. I got out of the car anyway – it was an old black Volkswagon bug – and went into the building.”
“It was a black VW bug? You never drove one of those.”
“I know, right? Anyway, when I went into the school, there were kids everywhere. I asked a tall boy where to go to get my schedule, and he pointed down a hall without saying anything and then turned away to joke with what looked like the rest of the boy’s basketball team. I wondered if they were laughing at me.
I wandered off in the direction in which he had pointed, but I couldn’t find an office. I asked another boy, and he pointed back toward where I had come from before he rushed away.”
“Not very helpful,” my husband chuckled. “What did you do then?”
“Right then a bell rang, so I ducked into the nearest classroom. The teacher was standing at the door. I tried to tell her that I didn’t have a schedule, but she told me to take a seat because class was about to start.”
“So you took a seat?”
“So I took a seat. I happened to be sitting next to one of my previous students and she smiled at me. She whispered to me, asking me where my bag was because we were going on a field trip. I realized that I had left the bag in the back seat of the car. I was very upset.
I kept trying to ask the teacher if I was really scheduled to be in this class. I also wanted to know if I should go back to the car to get my bag before the field trip started. I was extremely confused. The teacher smiled at me kindly, and told me that she couldn’t help me.”
“Hmm. I’m starting to notice a pattern here,” my husband commented.
“I ended up in the front seat of a chartered bus, next to my student and without my bag. I asked her where we were going and she was shocked that I didn’t know. She told me that we were going to look at conifers, and when we got back to school, we’d have to draw pictures of them.”
“Conifers? That’s bizarre, even for you, dear.”
“It is, isn’t it? I mean, even kindergartners know what a conifer is. We could have just walked out of the school building and looked at the nearest pine tree and picked up the pine cones from the ground. Why did we need to take a bus and why were high school students going to look at pine trees just to spend the afternoon drawing them? I thought to myself that I could write better lessons than that.”
“I’m sure you could.”
“We got back to school, and I wandered around again looking for my car. By the time I found it, it was getting dark. I got into the car and turned it on. It had been such a strange day and all I wanted to do was go home. Unfortunately….”
My husband finished the sentence, “…you had no idea how to get home.”
I nodded sadly. “What do you suppose it all means?”
He laughed. “You’re kidding, right?”
“No.” I frowned at him.
“It seems obvious to me. You need to decide what you want to do when you grow up.”
“That’s what this weird dream means?
“Sure. You need to decide if you want to go back to school to get your PhD, if you want to go back into the classroom and be a teacher again, or if you want to continue to write full time.”
“Oh. It’s hard to decide what you want to be when you grow up, even when you’re 48.”
“I guess so.” My husband had known since he got his first set of Lego’s at age 3 that he was going to be an engineer. He’s still an engineer. Must be nice.
“At least I have plenty of time to decide," I smiled wryly. "I’m not planning on growing up anytime soon.”
He pulled me into his arms and nuzzled my neck. “That's why I love you.”