In the dream, I’m having a cocktail. This is precisely why I am unaware that this is a dream…everything seems perfectly normal. Then I happen to glance at a clock. It reads 1:00…and realization dawns. One o’clock? Like, in the afternoon?? Don’t I have a JOB? Oh and a KID. Oh, CRAP…did I leave Connor somewhere?? I grab my phone and try to dial but the numbers are all jumbled…and WTF is wrong with this freakin’ phone?! Then I hear the faint melody of a familiar song…and I’m straining to make it out. And I think, “Is that Foreigner?”
This is when I wake. My eyes focus on the red numerals projected onto my ceiling: 6:27. The volume of Foreigner’s “Urgent” is increasing…and I wonder (not for the first time) how the conversation must have gone around that brainstorming session when someone said, “We need to slowly increase the volume. Start off low…and work our way up to annoyingly loud. Too many morons are stroking out because they neglected to turn down the volume before they set the alarm.” I imagine everyone around the table nodding knowingly.
I stumble out of bed as I punch the button to silence the music. I start down the hall towards the heavenly aroma in the kitchen, vaguely aware of the sliver of light under Connor’s door that tells me he’s up and about…but I’m incapable of speech till I get that first sip of coffee.
On the return trip to my room, I knock on Connor’s door and take the responding grunt as an invitation to enter. It is not…but that doesn’t stop me from pushing open the door. He’s watching I Love Lucy and eating a bowl of Lucky Charms. I casually note that the milk has taken on an odd shade of purple.
Me: “I had that stupid dream again. You know, the one where I think I left you somewhere and my phone’s on acid.”
Connor: (Eyes never leaving the screen) “Huh.”
Me: “I always get this sense that I’m far away, like it’ll take half the day to get home.”
Me: “And I just know it’s a weekday and I’m missing work. But I can’t call anyone because of the trippy phone.”
Connor: “Cool story, Mom. Tell it again…”
Me: “Why are you still here at 6:52?”
And I watch his face. For a split second there’s panic, then his eyes settle on the actual time…prominently displayed on the cable box, right underneath Lucy. He has a full ten minutes left to go. His features relax and settle back into that look of 15-year-old boredom I’ve grown to accept….but I think I see a ghost of a smile on his lips.
Connor: “Way to go, Mom. That wasn’t very nurturing of you…”
And I roll my eyes in mock-exasperation as I’m pulling his door closed behind me…but not before muttering, “I have to pee. Have a good day.”
And he groans.