I awoke the next morning to find it was Thanksgiving break.
I am not the sort to naturally do much thinking ahead unless something terribly exciting is afoot, so sometimes transitions take me a bit by surprise.
Weeks before the break, my dad had called to say that it would be best if I only went to visit them for Christmas that year and not Thanksgiving due to the ridiculously long drive that it would be, gas prices and miles on the car. As a result, I had no Thanksgiving plans whatsoever. I was to be one of the probably three or four students remaining on campus for the break.
Further taking me unawares, I came to realize that the student ID reader that normally unlocked the doors to the dorm from the outside was deactivated. I could choose to leave the dorm, but if I decided to be unruly and prop the door open when I left, it may or may not still be propped when I returned.
Mostly I was stuck. I took my dicey chances once or twice to stock up a little on food, but other than that I stayed put.
I turned some music up as loud as it would go in my room-mateless room in the desolate dorm and dumped all my random fabric out on the floor. I would make a dress, I decided.
I spent the next few days just working on my dress, living on salsa and tortilla chips, and singing at the top of my lungs, certain there was nobody within earshot. It was kind of nice. Lots of time, had I, to clear my mind and just exist. It was kind of like an A.D.D kid's way of being still and knowing that God is God.
The second to last night of the break I climbed into my top bunk and went to sleep. That sojourn into slumber was painted with a crazy vivid dream.
I stepped out into a warm summer night with a cool breeze playing and swirling through the grass. Above me were the stars of a crisp winter sky, and before me was a field of sand-dune sized dark jungle green rolling hills. Joseph was laying on his back on one of them, star gazing. Seeing him, I happily dashed over and threw myself down next to him.
He looked a little concerned, so I asked him what was wrong.
"I just broke up with Azalea", he said, " and now I'm in excruciating emotional pain."
I gazed into his icy blue eyes. He didn't look like he was in excruciating pain. I decided that I didn't believe him. There was a pause for a moment in which I almost shouted, "That's great! Now you can be with ME!", but I got shy and stopped myself.
The moment passed. Joseph reached into his pocket and pulled out a tray of cookie dough all rolled into balls and ready to go.
"Well, she's still my friend and I'm sad that she's hurt... so I thought some cookies might cheer her up! would you mind sticking these in the oven for me?"
I took them from him and skipped in the direction of an oven that I saw on one of the dune-hills. When I got there I saw that it was (naturally) all pre-heated and ready to go. I was about to put the cookies in when I noticed that the burners on top of the stove were on and red hot.
It was an understood thing in this dream that if I didn't turn those burners off, they would catch fire. So I started struggling with a stove knob. Stupid stove knob was stuck, though. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't turn it with one hand, so I set the cookies down on the burners (just for a minute, I thought) and grabbed the stove knob with both hands.
In dream time, I must have struggled with that stove knob for 4 hours. It felt like forever. When I stopped messing with it and looked down, the cookies were melting into cookie dough soup.
I panicked and picked them up, thinking I could just put them in the oven and make one giant cookie, but dream-me was suddenly overwhelmed with exhaustion, to the point where I had lost all gross-motor function and my eyes were crossing. The cookie dough was slopping and slooshing all over and then I simply fell asleep with my face on the burners.
I bolted up, a thought pounding through my head.
"If you don't tell him, the moment will pass. You will get hurt, and something for Azalea will be lost."
I rubbed my eyes and looked around, drinking in my familiar surroundings. My quilt with iron on pictures of my friends from camp and my Mexico blanket, my roommate's hamster running on his wheel, the dress I was working on all spread out in pieces on the floor.
"I don't believe that was You, God." I whispered, "It was only a dream. I need more than that if You think I should talk to Joseph about this. You remember what happened last time I told a boy I had feelings for him!"
I climbed down off my bunk and checked my email on Verona's laptop.
Joseph had sent me a Facebook message!
He had dreamt of me too that night?!
"Sooo, I had this crazy dream last night and you were in it, so I thought I might tell you. I was in some grocery store, and I think I was in the soup... aisle? Anyways, I looked to my right and I saw you coming down the isle to me, and I ran to you and you ran to me, and we were so excited to see each other! And we hugged like a giant explosion hug! And I woke up and I realized how great a friend you are to me...so yeah that's pretty much it. How's your turkey day going?"
My dress needed finishing, I decided, so I put the dreams out of my mind and got back to work. I didn't tell a soul about them. They made me feel too crazy.
The next day was the first day back. I was so excited to get out of my dorm and back into life. I put on teal eyeliner to celebrate my liberation from lockdown, went straight to the library the second it opened, and sat down with my iced latte thing and a book on a library bench. It wasn't 25 seconds before Joseph came through the door all bouncy and silly.
He saw me and came straight over, sat down next to me and pulled out of his pocket a ... a stove knob?!
Yeah, it was a stove knob! He put it on my knee and pretended to turn it back and forth a few times while he asked how my break was and noted that I had some "green junk" on my eyes.
I just sat there wide eyed with my mouth hanging open, sputtering that it was a good break and I made a dress. He hugged me and said he was going to the computer lab.
I was watching him walk away and trying to pull myself together, with my arms around my shins when Azalea came bounding in. She breezed over and kissed me on the knee and then went into the computer lab after Joseph.
Ok Poppa, I thought, You've got my attention.