I was on school break and I decided to get a job at the local mall. The speedometer on my car was broken (it is, actually), so I figured I would ride my bike to the mall instead. I got on my old purple bike that I rode when I was in fifth and sixth grade and started riding up Nesbit Ferry Road. Which goes in the opposite direction from the mall, but I didn't seem to realize that at the time. I was making my way up the hill to the stop light when my bike suddenly cracked and broke into two pieces. I found myself lying on the asphalt as cars whizzed by. I noticed another biker coming along, though. It was Lance Armstrong, the world champion cyclist. Surely he'll help me out, I thought.
But old Lance passed right by me, and so I gathered up the broken pieces of my bicycle and proceeded to walk back home.
While I was at home, my former boyfriend Chris's cousin decided to call me up and harass me. I'm not sure which cousin it was, but over the phone it sounded like a male about my age. He doesn't have any male cousins around my age, but that's beside the point. He was yelling at me, telling me that the breakup was all my fault. I tried to tell him that Chris had pretty much blamed the whole thing on himself, and I started quoting the last e-mail he wrote to me in which he talked about how sorry he was for betraying my trust and how he thought he had screwed up the relationship beyond repair.
Then I got off the phone and took my mom's car to the mall. I had a passenger in tow. Her name was Lyndsey, and she was supposedly one of my younger sister's friends. Nevermind that my sister only has one female friend, and her name is Crissy. But anyway. I took this Lyndsey girl to the mall, where we both instinctively went to the open area in front of one of the department stores (Nordstrom, I think). We were there for a chemistry class. I knew I was supposed to be there, taking the class with a bunch of highschoolers. The teacher was my Honors Chemistry teacher from junior year, Mr. Pantazopoulos, a three-hundred-pound Greek guy with a big red nose and a strong resemblance to an overinflated Super Mario.
We sat at desks in front of the department store, and Mr. P taught us equations on a chalkboard he'd set up in the mall. Everyone seemed to get it except for me. I struggled my way through the practice problems and gave incorrect answers when Mr. P called on me.
After class, I went to walk around the mall. My former place of employment, All Wound Up, had opened up a new location in an old Payless Shoe Source. The place was a mess, as usual, and all the employees were standing outside the store, not even glancing to see if any customers were causing trouble inside the store.
The next store over was a lingerie shop. It was called "Layers," and it was owned by Clinique. The cash register and the one employee were outside the store. I went inside, where I ran into my friend Emily. We were both very excited about Clinique manufacturing lingerie, but of course most of it was very expensive and we left the store empty-handed.
The next day I had a chemistry test at the mall. Only after I had turned in my test did I realize that I had unintentionally skipped most of the problems. I was going to flunk high school chemistry as a college junior. This was highly distressing. I stayed in the mall after hours to try to work some problems on the chalkboard, but I didn't get the chance. The rest of the class stayed after hours, too, and Mr. P. instructed us to clean all the mall windows with Windex. He gave us each a bottle that was half-full with very concentrated blue liquid. We were supposed to fill the rest of it with water, shake it up, and start cleaning. This was apparently our "lab assignment."
I decided to call my mom from the mall. It turned out that my mom was on the other line, talking to Chris. She said I should meet him at the local McDonald's later on that day, because he had some big news he wanted to tell me. I agreed.
When I pulled into the McDonald's parking lot, I saw Chris. He waved to me.
"Hey Laurie!" he said. "I just found out that I won first place in the Seventeen Magazine Fiction Contest!"
My mouth hung open. Chris doesn't write fiction and he certainly doesn't read Seventeen. Plus, he had beat me at my own game: I had been planning on entering the contest. It was the final year I was eligible to enter, and Chris had dashed my hopes of winning.
I was still sitting in my car. I had the windows rolled down so I was able to hear him. He was standing on the sidewalk outside McDonald's.
"I won this cool t-shirt," he said. "I'd let you have it, but it's an extra-large, so I don't think it would fit you."
I didn't think it would fit me either. I may have gone inside for some french fries at that point, but I'm not sure. It was drizzling outside, and I ended the dream feeling fairly disoriented and miserable.