The café wasn’t very crowded as usual. The smell of coffee surrounds the air of the room in different designs. A touch of double milk and double sugar here and there, steaming out of the tops of their stylish travel mugs. The college must-have my dad always says. Tired students rest their heads on their class textbooks, trying not to fall asleep on the many words, many sentences that makeup of nonsense information that will never come up in their career fields. Okay, I won’t say never but at least most of it. As for the drool, it is a sign of knowledge overload.
Over on the other side of the café, you have the girls hanging out with their friends worried about what they are going to do after this or recording a video of the food they have in front of them. I never could understand the concept of taking pictures of cafeteria food. I mean it is not any more glamorous than that guy who is two tables down slobbering his sloppy joe. Just eat it.
Two tables over, there is always that one guy trying to hit on any female that moves. This part is my favorite, he smiles at her, she smiles back and like a bug to a Venus trap, she is unaware of his motives. He, of course, only sees her as a hot girl to brag to his friends about. He already knew from the moment he smiled at her that he is never going to call her back.
College is a more extreme version of ourselves sometimes. We are supposed to come here to find ourselves but for some, we end up losing themselves before finding ourselves. A reversed cycle, if you want to call it that.
“Matt was in my dream last night,” I say, spinning my cell phone clockwise on the table waiting for Abby’s response. This is like fish bait for her.
Abby’s green eyes perk up with interest. She gives me a smirk as she leans forward in her chair with bent elbows and folded manicured hands under her chin. “Hmm, you’re dreaming about your ex -boyfriend? That only could mean one thing… you’re not missing him at all,” She laughs.
My best friend Abby King with the long blonde hair and on point makeup is beyond your typically girly girl. Don’t get me wrong, she is as girly as it gets but looks can distract you from the truth. She has always gotten us into trouble from since we were small.
There was this one time when she decided to poke a beehive. Our little shoes never ran so fast. I swear we burnt rubber that day. We ran down the hill screaming for our lives and dove straight off the deck into the lake with our clothes on. We figured that the bees didn’t know how to swim so we would be safe. However, we soon realized we shared something in common with the bees and thankfully we learned to swim that day.
“It wasn’t like that. I was married to him,” I reply.
Abby lets out a little laugh, “Oh, that’s nothing. I’ve been married to countless of guys in my dreams. The grocery guy, the mailman… Your dad,”
“It felt so real like I was actually there-” My brain pauses my mouth then re-fills me in on what Abby had just said to me. “Wait, you dreamt about my dad?”
“Dreams are supposed to feel real,” She says ignoring my question. She usually does that when she believes that I can’t handle something.
As much as I am afraid of what the answer would be, I still had to ask. “Can we discuss this dream of yours?”
“Nope,” Abby says, waving her poker face in my face which signaled that I wasn’t going to pry this little secret out of her. “Maybe you regret that you broke up with him.”
“What if this person who keeps sending me these dreams goes to this school,” I reply.
“Let me get this straight. First, you think someone is sending you dreams and now you think that this person goes to our school?” Abby slurps her ten-dollar iced tea.
“I was so close this time. I saw him, well not directly, but I saw his black jeans and red sweater. He had to be trying to reach out to me,” I run my hands through my hair, seeing that Abby wasn’t even taking in anything I had just said.
“So, what are you going to put up signs or something? You have practically described every guy in this school,” she says.
A guy with the exact outfit walks past our table as if it was on cue. Abby fixes her hair, gets up and rushes up to him. She puts one hand on his shoulder and uses the other one to tuck her hair behind her ear. “Hey, sorry to bother you.”
“No problem at all. What can I do for you?” The guy smiles from ear to ear. An unexpected puffiness rushes through his scrawny chest. This is the moment to tweet about. The moment to remember because right here and right now he is for sure going to leave this cafeteria with a hot girl’s number and a boatload of ego.
“You are too sweet. Here follow me,” She bats her eyes. Her hand resting on his arm as she guides him back towards our table. He stares at her hand as if he had never had a girl touch his arm before. He lit up even more when he saw me as if he has just won the highest jackpot ever won.
“My friend and I just wanted to know…” Abby pauses for a dramatic effect. She knew what she was doing and yet couldn’t resist toying with him a little more. Endless of possibilities stewing in his immature brain, painting only a fantasy of unrealistic expectations. “What color is your sweater?”
“I’m sorry?” He replies.
There are a million of things that go through a guy’s mind when a girl is talking to them, another thing when two girls are talking to him but that question was not one of them.
“What color is your sweater?” Abby repeats, her voice transitionally from cute ‘can you do me a favor’ to an annoyed ‘can you just answer my question so I can prove my point’ voice in a matter of seconds.
He looks down at his worn-out sweater then back to Abby who is impatiently waiting for his simple response. “Red,” He replies.
“And your jeans?” She says, looking at me as if to rub in my face the answer we both already know.
“Black… why?” He replies, still trying to figure out what was going on.
“That’s all, thank you for your time. I am not going to give you a prize for that. It was just two questions,” She tells him.
Abby returns to her seat. We watched the guy walk away with his neck turned in our direction and a painted puzzled look still imprinted on his face.
“You cannot find this guy with only two descriptions. We are graduating in a few months. Can you worry about this after? We can only hope this will be all over by then because we got a ton of parties to hit,” Abby is, well, a very straight-forward person but that’s what makes her my best friend.
Honestly, this has been happening to me since I could remember. I don’t think it has ever been just in college or high school like Abby believes. It’s been going on since I was small. It started off with just pictures when I couldn’t read, then as I grew, it grew along with me, from pictures to words. Now it is whatever he, this mysterious guy wants it to be and lately, it’s been letters.
There was a time when I thought it was my mom slipping the letter under the door but she normally went to work before 9am. She and I would wait by the bus stop and when it arrived she would watch me walk onto the bus before ever entering her car. She wasn’t really out of my sight. We would pretend to have a race to the intersection lights, her car against my bus. It was our thing. The winner was dependent on if the bus had to pick up Sammy or not. Then she would blow a kiss goodbye as we went our separate ways.
That suspicion diminished once I moved away. My mom doesn’t have that kind of money to be flying back and forth from Vancouver to Toronto. Plus, she straight up hates flying. News clips of planes dropping into the earth gave her anxiety, so she now forces my dad to drive 55 hours, 4-5 days and 4,379.9 km for only very important family occasions such as weddings or in my case graduation. It can’t be her or my dad.
“All I’m saying is that you should be getting more sleep or something. Talk to a trained professional or a therapist,” Abby says. “They have ghost catchers and dog whisperers, so they must have something for you. Perhaps a dream catcher. I’m sorry, I am not trying to make fun of you. You have to admit that this sounds ridiculous. Maybe the stress of school work has been getting to you.”
I knew I didn’t want to say this, but I said it anyway, “Maybe you’re right.”
Those words tasted sour in my mouth. It was either that or having us argue back and forth like a ping pong ball for the next forty-five minutes. I have learned that occasionally I have to let her win.
Abby nearly chokes on her iced tea. “I’m right?”
I push my chair back to get up. “I’m going to catch up on some sleep like you said,”
“You do realize that you said I am right? Me?” She shouts from behind me.
I turn my head back to see the shocked look on Abby’s face, “Yes, Abby.”
It’s so true that unless you’re in the situation or have been in the same situation, you will never truly understand. Abby is a great example of that. She would never know how it feels to be homeless unless she herself was homeless. I have to admit that I would pay a pretty penny to see Abby homeless. Of course, I would give her the penny to contribute to food. Sure, pennies are now as useless as a VCR but it is the thought that counts.
I love her to pieces but sometimes her head is solely for herself. It can only fit all the material things she loves and holds dear to her heart. I fit in there, somewhere, most likely after a boy.
Later, and I say later lightly since it has only been like ten minutes, I feel my cell phone vibrate in my pocket. A new message from the only person who ever really texts me other than my parents. Abby texts me a picture of herself with nearly finished drink up in the air and the brightest smile along with the caption:
Christy said I was right. Momentous day!
What was I really expecting though? Abby and me taking on an adventure to find this mystery person in awesome tight clothes and base thumping action amplifying music? I am not sitting in a dream. This isn’t a movie and my life especially is not as exciting as a book. If I am going to do this then I am going to have to figure this out on my own. These are my dreams. This is my problem. The solving is all in my hands. If only I knew where to begin. All I know is that I need to start.