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Tutoring and More

1. The End of Dreaming

Years ago, something happened in my brain. I stopped remembering my dreams. Stopped remembering so completely that I wake up every day with a blank slate, as if nothing happened all night. 

Sometimes there’s an echo of a dream. Once or twice, I have recognized where the dream took place — a dreamscape I used to frequent. But those are exceptions. Such echos have lingered at most a half-dozen times in the last twenty years. Otherwise, no dream evidence whatsoever. 

Except this morning.

2. A Dream

[ed: Keep in mind this is a dream and that nothing matches up with anything I know in real life, my grandfather’s Jeep being the exception.]

Andrew was a big kid, a star football player. I didn’t know him, but he came up to me at school at the beginning of lunch and asked for some math tutoring. I said ok.

The cafeteria was downstairs. It was busy. I told Andrew I’d meet him at a table. But things were so busy and the lines so long that by the time I got there, the cafeteria was empty, and Andrew and several other students who wanted tutoring were gone.

Someone on the stairs told me where they were. I put my lunch down and went to find them. They were upstairs milling in the hallway, and now they wanted to go out for ice cream. I said ok.

We met in the parking lot at my 1950s Willy’s Jeep. The kids piled into the back. There were more than a dozen of them. Andrew asked to drive. I gave him the keys and went around the back to jump in with the others.

Andrew began driving off before I was in. I ran and jumped and grabbed onto some kind of pole that was in the bed. The kids helped pull me up.

The ice cream shoppe was off the side of a narrow road in the mountains. The place was mobbed. I had given the kids my wallet to buy their ice cream. They were in line before me. When it was my turn to order, I could see the kids at a distant table. One of them came back with my wallet just as it was time for me to pay.

I handed the bills over to the cashier. She looked at the money hesitantly and then looked at her manager and whispered.

“Wait,” I said. “This doesn’t look right.”

The bills were too large and clearly counterfeit. I fumbled in my wallet and got some other bills to pay with. Same problem. So I gave her a credit card, but she said that it was ok, because she and the manager had figured out that Andrew had swapped my money for these fake bills, and that it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t have to pay.

I took my order and walked to the table. The kids were gone. They had finished eating and returned to the Jeep. I put my ice cream on the table and rushed out. There was a commotion at the front door. Someone rushed in and said that Andrew had hit somebody’s child. I ran outside.

The family was sitting in the grass. The girl sitting in her mother’s lap. She was shaken but seemed to be ok. The grandfather came up furiously asking who had hit his granddaughter. I said it was my Jeep and that the kids had driven off. I wanted to run to see if I could catch them before they were gone.

I took off my hat and handed it to the grandfather as a token that I would return. Realizing that my hat was not a convincing token, I took out my wallet so I could give him my driver’s license. My license was gone. Andrew had taken it. I gave the man my wallet and said I would come back.

Andrew was gone. The Jeep was gone. Except for one student, a girl who was in one of my classes, all the other students were also gone. It was getting late. The sun was going down. 

I walked back and passed a lawyer’s office. She was just opening for business. There were two men and a woman in line waiting to talk to her in her tiny office with glass windows that looked out on the green lawn where the ice cream shoppe crowd had been parked. She let the two guys in. I looked in the glass windows and watched them sit down. The woman behind them offered to let me get in line in front of her. I shook my head and left.

I began walking back to the family who’s daughter Andrew had hit.

And I woke up in a cold sweat. What a lousy way to return to dreaming after twenty+ years.