I find myself at the grocery store where I see my best friend at the time...except like now, we are not really on speaking terms. It is awkward to be back at school without her company and support. I am not sure how to behave. Do I pretend to not see her? Do I acknowledge her presence. What are the rules of this bizarre estrangement?
She is the one who broaches the distance and we talk...about my parents, about hers. I ask about her cat. He died, years ago, don't I remember? She is married. I am still trying to wrap my head around how it is I am there without her. I do not know how I will get along.
I realize that this has eaten too much time and I have precious little time to go and read the story before the evening test. I have to dash off but before I do. I have an internal debate whether or not to hug her. I wait for her. She seems to wait for me. She seems as unsure as I am.
I race back to the school...to what is an enormous library and frantically try to find a copy of the story. They are all out! Of course they are, everybody has been reading their copy all afternoon.
I find out everybody has been together going over the story in a study session. They are well prepared and relaxed. Most of them.
One of my clasmates, notorious for her annoying behavior tries to trap me in conversation about what we are going to do. She has neglected to read the story either and I am horrified and appalled to find myself in the same position as her.
I do an end run around her and pester one of my other classmates for their book. They have already read it and so, somewhat reluctantly hand it over.
It is a thick book but to my relief, I find it is full of stories and this one, while many pages long is beautifully illustrated has very large print. It is an extended children's book.
I race though it...I am not sure of what the gist of things are...it is some Pippi Longstocking story...but it is also about animals on a journey and why some baby animals do not make the destination. Baby turtles spend too much time around reefs and get turned into stone. Baby griffins have a hard go because their parents are extinct.
The library closes and I am forced to hand the book back. The test is in half an hour.
I go back to my res room and shower.
I must have taken too long because I am flying back to the school...to the library testing center, all dimly lit and full of leather bound tomes and my class mates already hunched over their tests.
I am in a towel and pleading my case to one of my teachers. I am 5 minutes late.
She relents , seeing me winded and in a wet towel and hands me the test. It is on blud paper. I try to sit down and take the test without the towel falling off.
I am scared I will not do well. School has just barely started and I know if I botch this test it will also be my last. This is not a promising beginning.
Fortunately I have read the Pippi Longstocking stories many years ago and am able to answer most of them. Some are strange... was she pretty or not? Write a paragraph.
I do not know the answer to the last quarter of questions and so hand it in hoping I have done well enough on the other questions to be able to pass the thing.
As I head back to my room I see my friend off in the distance. I am embarrassed I am in my towel. She sees me but does not wave.
I wake up somewhat disquieted.