I had the opportunity to lie down this afternoon and take a nap. It is a decadent pleasure I do not indulge in often enough. However, I accomplished a great deal this morning, and the weather today did not seem conducive for running errands. It started snowing last night, and the blustery winter tempest made it very easy to rationalize staying indoors. Thus, around 3:30 I assessed the situation: Tom was about to take a nap so that he would be well rested for bartending on this Valentine’s Specials weekend; the girls were playing with Maggie’s and Lizzie’s loot. The continuous stream of birthday gift cards has financed a few trips to Target for Lalaloopsie and Zoobles toys; and I was feeling lethargic enough and cold enough to justify crawling into bed with Tom and Linus to sleep.
I had a vivid dream.
I am at work. Many of my co-workers and I are assembled in our workroom. Some are sitting at the table grading, others are huddled on the couches (the area we call The Den) discussing sports. I am watching, and I am very aware that the wind outside the windows is strong and the squalls are heavy. I gaze at the soccer field and watch the menacing, blowing snow whip against the landscape.
A man I have never seen before enters the workroom. He is sharp dressed–gabardine slacks, a blue button down, a tan sweater vest, and a fur Mountie hat. He sets up a three-fold board. He does not speak to us and I am curious. So is everyone else. The three-fold board is full of pictures: lovely landscapes, city skylines, and people of different races and ethnicities who look genuinely happy. To the left of the display I realize the Canadian flag is majestically flowing. I am suddenly aware that all of the windows are now open. Is this ambiance? “Oh Canada” starts to play in the background. He speaks. I strain to hear him. Because of the blustering snowstorm that is whipping through the workroom and the booming Canadian Anthem, I cannot hear a word he says. However, I feel a kinship with him. I feel a warmth inside, even though my extremities are ice-cold. I can tell by the way he is gesticulating that he needs our help. He needs us to help promote the beauty of Canadian winters. I feel the need to help.
Shift. I am in the hallway outside the gymnasium doors. I have a large coffee grounds’ tin wrapped in paper so you can see the Maple Leaf. People are throwing dollar bills into my can. I know there are other people with similar cans at different stations of the building, but I feel like I am going to win, I am collecting a great deal of money. Some of the kids from my classes are handing me Fives. I am trying to calculate in my mind when to leave; the contest is almost over. A look up at the cross beam and a giant clock is counting down. [0:00:09:27:] I am down to 9 minutes and 27 seconds. I feel a sense of panic. Do I have enough? I stare out into the courtyard and the snow is blowing again. The wind is whipping so hard against the glass that I can hear it rattle. I can feel it the draft pouring thrrough. My toes feel cold.
I start to run. I run with my can full of money. I run up the hall pushing through students. At one point I hurdle a group sitting on the floor and I start humming the “Chariots of Fire” theme. Everything slows down. I am aware of shouting, of dollar bills waving, of a sense of urgency to win. I turn the corner to get to the steps and someone has pushed desks and lab tables into the hall. I scurry over the top of those I can, and skimmer past others, shoving my body between the wall and the furniture. At last, I reach the stairs, but they are congested with people. “Move!” I push through. When I reach the top of the stairs, I still have to run all the way down the hall. It seems like it is four football fields long. I run. It seems so far away. My friend, Jen, is at the door of the workroom, waving at me to hurry. I feel her encouragement. I am almost there. My can is full. Our friendly neighbors to the North are going to get all of this money. I am almost in the door. Jen is reaching for the can…
“Mom.” A whisper.
“What?” I jolted awake.
My eyes opened. Lizzie was standing next to the bed. “Can I have a sucker?”
I gazed at the clock. 3:37.