“If you’re that worn out, then go to bed,” mom said. And I did, even if darkness didn’t come creeping yet outside my window. My arms were so weak I couldn’t get my socks off. They kept sticking to my feet. So I crawled under the covers. When I’m very tired, I dream…
…I have to go to the bank to get some money. Dad’s birthday is tomorrow. And I want to buy him something super-dooper special.
“Hurry up,” mom said, “before the bank closes.” She always reminds me I have my own money. Sometimes I forget my bankbook says I still have $36 dollars left. The bus driver is very nice when I tell him I have no money. “But, I’ll pay you back when I get some from the bank,” I say.
We travel down busy streets, past tall buildings and I jump off the three steps from the bus. There is a long line of people at the bank. And the Teller’s wicket looks like it is a mile away. So I count bushels of butterflies while waiting. Finally it’s my turn. And I look up at this man behind the counter. He must be ten feet tall. At first I thought he was very nice.
“There’s no money here for you,” he said. “You must have spent it all.”
“But…but, my mother said there’s some left,” I answered. “I saved it all myself, from my paper route.”
“Then you should check with her again,” said the man sternly. “Or, you must have come to the wrong bank,” he said, showing off his teeth.
I looked into his eyes. And watched his smile. Was he pretending to be a sly coyote? Last summer, I saw one in a field near my house. The animal looked sneaky with his bushy tail.
On the way home I met a nice lady. When I told her my sad story, she felt sorry for me. She must have been rich because she gave me a whole suitcase full of money. I couldn’t carry it all. So I gave her back one stack of paper money. In case she needed to buy a bag of chips, or go to a movie.
Now I don’t have to go home. I have enough money to get an awesome gift for my dad. “Something really special,” I say to a white rabbit, sitting on the seat beside me. I think he is following me home.
“You be careful, the coyote doesn’t try to eat you,” I say. I show him my teeth. But it doesn’t scare him.
Around the corner, there is a little girl standing on the sidewalk. I get off the bus to see why she is crying. “My hands are cold,” she said. So I bought her a pair of red mittens. She is so surprised she forgets to thank me.
Now I am hungry, and tired. So I sit down on the sidewalk and open my birthday gift knapsack. There is half an apple, a mustard sandwich, and two chocolate chip cookies. Soon my knapsack is empty, except for one crust of bread. It tries to hide in the corner.
“If only I had some blueberry jam,” I told the bus driver waiting for me. “It would be delicious on this crust of bread.”
“I’ll take you to where blueberries are large. And juicy,” he said.
The bus brought me far from the city, and across a busy highway. Even past fishing boats in the harbor. Then the bus drove up a gravel road. I watched a pheasant hurry across the road. We went past fields of hay and a high hill, and we finally stopped. The bus had a flat tire.
I got off and looked across a valley filled with blueberries. And waiting beside the first bush was that white rabbit. “How did he find me?” I wondered.
I quickly filled up my knapsack with juicy berries. My hands look like they are painted blue. And my back is sore from bending over so much. So I sat on a log and took off my right shoe and sock. Then I began to cry. I was afraid the coyote would come and bite my toe.
What was I doing here? I thought. There are no gifts for dad here. Besides, that sly coyote might find me. After running like thunder across a field I tripped over a log. Then fell into a little creek, with squishy mud. Was something chasing me? Maybe it was that white rabbit. I shook myself dry, the way my friend’s dog does. Spotty is his name. I mean that’s the dog’s name. I heard more crying. But it sounded far away. My eyes were closed tightly. Just like the front door when I slam it.
…Then I open my eyes, one at a time. Mom and dad are staring at me. The cat is on my bed. And I am too. When I look out the window, the coyote’s face is there. And he is laughing. I hug my mother. She begins to laugh too. Oh…Oh. I forgot to get Dad’s present. Closing my eyes, I hurry back to my dreaming.
Once in a while, we believe it healthy to write something of fantasy. This story is based on a real dream. So in a sense, this story is a dream within a dream. (R&E)
* * *
© Richard & Esther Provencher 2007