Dreams of high school

I had a dream last night that I was going back to high school, I think as some kind of 21 Jump Street undercover cop posing as a high school student. This is because I still see myself as appearing to be 16 years old, and am continually shocked when a reflective surface or photograph proves otherwise. Or when I see high school friends on Facebook and think, Wow, she looks old! And then I realize that she and I are the same age and she would likely say the same about me. In this dream, I was attending high school in Seattle and had some confidence that I wouldn't be intimidated because, in my dream, I had previously been a teenager in a major city (the city itself wasn't specified).  I spent the first part of my morning (in the dream) getting my ID picture taken over and over again as I strove for an authentic laugh/smile. When all of the photos came back (the guy took like 50 of them), every single one showed my crooked front tooth in high relief, blinding white, it was all you could see. I was wearing a red shirt and a denim skirt--not the best outfit, and I had trouble finding my class schedule. All in all, it was one of those dreams where you wake up and go, Thank God that was a imaginative manifestation of my insecurities rolled up into one long nightmare.

Where did this dream come from and why so many specific details? Maybe it's because Luke told us at dinner about how in gym class yesterday, the gym teacher volleyed a ball over the net, and it hit him on the head, causing him to fall over on his elbow with a loud crack. He said the sound of his elbow hitting the gym floor was super loud, and it was really embarrassing because everyone heard it and there were a lot of kids in his class. No one laughed though.

I had forgotten that part of school--how you are always in groups of some kind (in the cafeteria, during class, at band practice) and so the odds are higher that you may face public humiliation more readily than you do as an adult.  And that's all also happening at a time when you're becoming more and more self-conscious and less and less in control of your body. I remember in seventh grade, I was running to geography class, wearing a Laura Ingalls type dress my mom made with sneakers (why? It's an unanswerable question), to one of those classes that were held in pods. If you don't know about them, pods are like these mini-trailer classrooms they use when the buildings are under construction. It had rained the night before and as I flew toward the door, I tripped on a shoelace and fell on my knees in the mud. In front of Steve Bencuscky, who was walking calmly up the back stairs. Steve Bencusky with the broad swimmer's shoulders, blond surfer boy hair and year-round tan. He saw me fall, but he said nothing. He just went inside and I scrambled to stand up before anyone else witnessed it. That's one of my only clear memories of seventh grade.

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