I’m listening to Letters from Hawaii by Mark Twain in my car. And I’m reading Hawaii by James Michener. Last night, I had a dream within a dream. The ship tossed and bobbed on the rough sea like a cork. In it, I lay on a cot, gripping the sides, trying to hold on. I was exhausted and I kept slipping in and out of sleep. Finally, I fell into a deep sleep. I dreamt of surfing — of being a natural at catching the waves. The uncomfortable but exciting feeling of being chased set me to paddling. The powerful rushing sound hissed behind me. I paddled harder. I felt the water billow under me, bolstering me to the crest.  I popped up, my toes gripping the sandpaper finish on the board, like a baby’s toes grip the linoleum when trying to stand. I stand for one second, two seconds, three seconds. The speed is exhilirating. The power beneath me carries me fast to the shore. Then, I lose my balance. Just a twitch, a wiggle, a leaning forward a little too far and I’m over. The powerful wave rolls me, tramples me, covers me. I relax for a moment because I no longer know which way is up. There is nothing to do but wait until the surface appears. Wait, wait, I roll over and there is the light on the surface and I break it with my fingertips, then my head bursts out, and I exhale. I feel the wave slowly spread itself thin. I find the ground with my feet. The wave switches directions, pulling back into the sea. The sand under my feet starts to follow it, tickling me. I watch the water dissipate, staring at my feet until I get dizzy because it feels like I’m skiing backwards instead of the sea pulling the wave back into herself.

The sun soaks into my skin. I feel the vitamin D work miracles in my body. I grab the surf board and paddle back out for another try. When I wake up, I’m still on the stormy sea. My elbows are chaffed from trying to hold onto the cot. It’s stuffy and cold.

Then, I really wake up. Paul’s got his arm over me. I’m warm and comfortable.

We’re talking of moving. Hawaii is on the list. I guess they need teachers over there. I can’t tell whether this is escapist talk or reality talk. Whenever things get difficult, Paul and I talk about going places — usually Patagonia. Patagonia is code for: let’s dream a bit; reality bites. Right now, it’s Hawaii, Tennessee, North Carolina — the part that makes me wonder whether this is reality talk is that these places have jobs.

Paul is pursuing a short sale on the house. I’m working ’til June as of Thursday. The principal told me that there are other teachers out of compliance so the district already put in the paperwork to get slapped on the hand. Might as well stay.

In the meantime, reality or escapism, I’m dreaming of Hawaii.

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