I was back in high school, supposedly doing a book report for my AP English class. It wasn't a very in-depth book report, though, and I didn't want to stand out from the rest of the class by going into great detail on the book. Everyone else was reporting on Harry Potter books, while I was doing Anna Karenina. I remember being in the school library, standing between two tall bookshelves and feeling trapped.
Then I was outside, and it was cold. I was supposed to be meeting someone for lunch at an Italian restaurant. I went there, got a table outside, and ate pasta. I decided I needed lots of carbohydrates.
Later, I went back to the same restaurant to eat with my roommate Laura. It was still chilly, and I realized it was around Christmastime. We were going to eat outside again, but there only seemed to be one opne table. We sat ourselves, and then wondered why there was already food at the table. A big basket of shrimp poppers sat in front of me. I kept putting my hand in the basket and mixing them around. I'm a vegetarian, and so is Laura, so we couldn't help but wonder why we had gotten shrimp for an appetizer while everyone else had received Italian bread.
A waiter showed up at our table with french fries. "Did you girls order these?" he asked.
"Yes," I said, even though we hadn't. I was hungry, and the fries looked good.
Suddenly, two other girls showed up at our table and told us they had been sitting their first. They also mentioned that I was eating their fries. I said something about the fries having been delivered wrong. The girls didn't accept this as a good excuse. Laura and I left the table. I told her we could sit down somewhere else, but she said she was too scared to eat anything.
"We'll come back," I said. But Laura looked unsure. She started walking away.
I got on a bus, though I wasn't sure where I was going. It was a small bus, with only a few seats. In front of me were sitting three of the members of N'Sync. I wasn't sure how I knew this, but it seemed to be common knowledge among the other passengers.
One of the band members was sitting two seats in front of me. Without turning around, he said, "I think you're beautiful."
I raised my eyebrows in disbelief.
Then he said, "And you have a really nice ass."
At that point, I was fairly grossed out and somewhat scared of what this guy was going to say or do next. I got off the bus at the next stop, which happened to be the downtown area of the town where I attend college. Everything looked different, though. The stores all had different names, and there was a general dreariness hanging over the town. It was the day after Thanksgiving, I eventually realized, but the shoppers weren't exactly out in full force. I passed my favorite downtown coffeehouse and saw that it had been turned into my favorite Atlanta coffeehouse, Cafe Intermezzo. I made a mental note to tell my best friend Emily about this.
I was running down the sidewalk at this point. I ran straight into a tent sale, and a woman tried to sell me jewelry. I said I was in a hurry and couldn't stop to look.
I went back to the Italian restaurant. Laura was already there, though she was sitting with another group of people -- some of her friends from the dorm we lived in during freshman year. I wondered why she had chosen them over me, since she didn't see them much anymore or even seem to like them very much. I caught her eye for a minute and she looked at me guiltily. However, she made no move to get up and sit with me.
I started crying. I couldn't believe this was affecting me so much, but I felt very alone. I was the only person at the restaurant who didn't have someone else to sit with. I was eventually "assigned" to a table with people I seemed to vaguely know. One of the people was a guy from my AP English class, apparently. I recognized him in the dream, but, looking back, I realize he was no one I ever knew in real life. The waitress said to me, "You can discuss your book report with him." I remembered how I felt like an outcast in English class, and I decided I'd probably just sound stupid talking about the book report. The guy sat down on my lap. He didn't think this was strange. He started eating his pizza, and and I just sat there. I was serving as his chair.
After he and his family finished eating, I met up with Laura. She had eaten lunch with her other friends. "Aren't you going to have anything, Laurie?" she asked me.
I told her I wasn't, that I had been crying so much I was afraid my stomach would be upset if I tried to eat. I took a big loaf of Italian bread off one of the tables, and headed outside. I decided I was going to try and sell the loaf of bread on eBay.