There Is No One There.

It’s supposed to snow.

I get an email from Dylan’s school saying, “The school will call you at 5:30 a.m. to let you know if schools are closed.” So I set up my room in such a way that the phone is next to my head. I set my alarm, in case schools are open. Then I go to bed.

I am dreaming that I am pedaling a Big Wheel on the highway, singing Gordon Lightfoot at the top of my lungs: “If you could read my mind Love, oh the tales my thoughts would tell….” Then, suddenly, mid-pedal, I am awake.

I don’t look at the clock. I don’t even open my eyes. I am thirsty, but I don’t want to get water, for fear of waking myself further. I think, I should turn down the heat, and realize I’m in trouble because I’ve had an actual thought. I try to go back to my Big Wheel, but it’s no use. I stay very still.

Then I start thinking about going to visit the Grand Canyon with my kids. I worry that they will fall off the edge. I lecture them in my head, as if we are taking that trip tomorrow. In my head, they are angels, listening to my lecture. My lecture alters their otherwise devastating destiny of doom. Then I start to worry about steep roads and rattlesnakes.

When I roll out of bed, maybe 20 minutes later, the clock says it’s 4:15. I peek out the window. No snow. I still have two hours to sleep.

I get back into bed. I flip from one side to the other. I cuddle my pillow, then let it go. I lay flat on my face, hoping it will ease the permanent pain in my neck. It doesn’t.

I start to think about the high school IB program, which is eliminating the Pre-IB classes for underclassmen. This upsets me, even in my bed. I consider emailing the IB program coordinator. I draft the email in my head. I try very hard to be polite.

I curl my body into a fetal position. I realize that I am grinding my teeth and forcibly relax my jaw. I hear a roar in the sky – is it a fighter jet? or just thunder? I don’t hear rain. With our close proximity to the White House, I can’t identify the noise.

I don’t even know that I’ve drifted off until the phone rings. I pounce on it like a lion, say “hello.” My voice is clear, because I’ve been awake for so long.

There is no one there.

It is 5:30 a.m. It’s Dylan’s school calling. I go downstairs and check the school’s website to find out what they would have said, if the automated system worked. The website says: “OPEN ON TIME.”

They called me at 5:30 a.m. to tell me schools are NOT closed?!? I want to kill someone. Of all the stupid …!

But I want to sleep more. I go back to bed. I take deep breaths. I flip and flop. I unclench my teeth again. I unclench my fists, too. I stay as still as possible.

Suddenly a French nurse is asking me how to pronounce my name – which wakes me up. Is my name French? I don’t think so. And why was I dreaming about a French nurse?

I lie flat on my face again. It still doesn’t work. I toss, turn, try desperately not to think.

Someone in my dream says, “And what is your opinion about these locker-pushers?” Then my alarm goes off, waking me for the day. I groan. My eyes burn.

I look out the window again. Now, in the pre-dawn hours, it starts to snow.

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