Dream Worlds

Eva was up late finishing her homework. It had been silly to put it off. Sure, the week had been busier than she’d expected, but she hadn’t really needed to spend all that time looking up song lyrics. Looking up funny cat videos hadn’t helped either. She’d also probably spent too much time helping Jenny color pictures of ponies. Toddlers were just so persuasive really, that she couldn’t help it.

There had also been the Star Wars marathon that had taken up two afternoons… but that had been entirely necessary and she refused to regret it. In any case, here she was doing homework and falling asleep at her desk at much too late at night. “I think I need some help,” she said out loud and fell asleep again.

Dream Eva, who lived in the dream world, was having trouble waking up. She was usually up by now getting ready for school, but she kept being dragged back into the odd dream of sitting at a desk and trying to write things on paper in a language that she had to squint to understand.

Her mom came in again.   “Eva, wake up now, you have to fly to school by yourself today. I don’t have time to attach your wings if you don’t get up soon.”

“I can’t wake up, Mom,” Eva said. “I keep feeling like there’s something I need to finish.”

“I’ll set your alarm for ten more minutes, Eva,” her mom said. “Finish your dream and get up. No more stalling.” She picked up the little blue pig on the nightstand and tapped it ten times.

Eva settled back into her bed and closed her eyes. She opened them again and was at a desk. She could feel her otherself half-there, but really not aware of what was going on.

She squinted at the papers on the desk. Was this homework? Well, she’d always been a good student. This should be easy. She gripped the pencil and squinted. With some effort, she used her otherself’s knowledge of the language and began to write the answers.

The pig clock squealed and Dream Eva sprang out of bed. It was time to fly to school! She felt wide-awake now. Mom always gave the best advice.

Meanwhile, Eva slumped over her desk and dreamed she could fly. She drooled a little on her completed homework. She felt at peace, knowing that it was complete. It was funny, even though she’d been half-asleep when she finished it, she felt like she’d done her best work ever. She’d fallen asleep feeling confident that she’d get a gold star on her paper the next day.

That feeling persisted until she got her homework back. How had she gotten everything wrong? She’d felt so certain that she knew all the answers. She started reading through the last assignment she’d been working on the night before.

“Omaha is the capital of the United States? Elvis is the King of Texas? Yellowstone is the world’s largest producer of chocolate?” she muttered. In what world was any of that true?

“Stay after class, please, Eva,” the teacher said.

“All right,” Eva said.   She wanted to rip up her paper and cry.   Instead, she put it in her backpack and started to pack up the rest of her things.

She waited until her classmates left the room and walked up to her teacher’s desk. The teacher raised an eyebrow. “Eva, I am concerned about some of the work you handed in today.   Were you not taking the assignments seriously?”

Eva looked down at her hands. “It was kind of late when I was working on it and I think I was half-asleep. I really felt like I was writing down the right answers.”

The teacher sighed.   “Perhaps the answers are true in some other world, but I have no idea where that would be. In any case, I think you need to manage your time better,” the teacher said.

“Yes ma’am,” Eva said.

“Why don’t you redo the last two papers I handed back today,” the teacher said. Eva nodded. “Then that will be all, Eva.” The teacher gathered up a stack of papers and tapped it on the desk to get the edges straight.

Eva looked up.   “Thank you, ma’am,” she said.   She hurried out of the room. She was going to go straight home and do her homework. She wanted to be wide-awake when she was working from now on. Obviously, when you want it done right you have to do it yourself.