“Wake up, Sleepyhead.”
What a nice dream, I thought. Face to face with a beautiful woman—in bed. Her blonde hair glowed, backlit by the morning sun.
“You promised me a picnic today, and it’s nearly 11:00.”
Wait. I knew this woman. It was Debra—from high school. I had a huge crush on her, but I never asked her out. Too shy. Then I noticed her wedding ring. I glanced at my left hand. Yes! Matching rings.
She placed her soft hand on my shoulder and smiled. “Last night was wonderful.”
Oh, my God. We had made love last night? I tried to remember it. How could I forget it?! Don’t overreact, I thought. Be cool. Don’t wake yourself up. This is too good. “Yes, it was, Baby. Fantastic.”
“Well, let’s get going. We can pack the lunch together. It’ll be fun.”
Great, I thought. I’m all in. But my body felt heavy. I couldn’t move. My eyes began to close.
I couldn’t help it. I was falling asleep. No! I don’t want to…
I have no idea how long I was asleep. But when I felt myself waking up, I began to get excited. The picnic. With my beautiful wife, Debra. My eyes were open, but everything looked blurry.
“Finally. I thought you’d never wake up.”
Debra’s voice sounded funny—like she suddenly got a bad cold. When my vision cleared, I was shocked to see—a man. A bum in ragged clothing lying in bed with me. All at once I inhaled his rancid breath, and recoiled in disgust. “Who are you? And where’s Debra?”
“Great. Now you don’t even know my name. We’ve been together for nearly a year, and you don’t even know who I am. That’s pathetic, man.”
I wanted to kick him out of my bed. Or find a pistol or call the police. But I couldn’t do any of those things. I couldn’t move. And my eyes were closing.
The next time, I was afraid to open my eyes. But the sweet fragrance in the air gave me hope.
“Hey, Baby. You’re not trying to back out on our picnic, are you?”
My eyes popped open. There she was. Just as before. “Of course, not, Sweetie.” This time I would not fall back to sleep. I hopped out of bed. “I’m ready to go.”
“Okay. But you might want to get dressed first.”
“It’s gonna be a perfect day,” she said.
“Yes, it is.” I walked into the bathroom, so happy to be awake. To be walking around. I was good now. And this was not a dream. It was real. What a life.
Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I looked kinda funny. My skin looked soft. I rubbed my hand across my face. Why was it so smooth? Where were my morning whiskers? And when had I let my hair grow so long?
I turned on the light to get a better look. I had breasts! “No!”
“What’s the matter, Honey?”
“I’m a woman!”
“And you just now realized it?”
I don’t know whether I fell back to sleep or fainted. But I awoke to something hitting the bottom of my foot. The bottom of my shoe. Why was I wearing shoes in bed?
Then I realized I wasn’t in bed. I was lying in an alley next to a dumpster.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a handful of crumpled bills. The man bent down and took the money out of my hand, and replaced it with a small baggie. I held it up to my eyes. Drugs?
Was this my real life? Sleeping on cold concrete in a stinky alley with my fellow druggies? No wife, no home, no bed?
The man grinned at me. “Enjoy.”
“No!” I threw the baggie at him. “Get away from me!”
Suddenly, my body was sucked up into a tornado, and then abruptly spit out. At least that’s what it felt like. I was dizzy, disoriented.
The young guy leaned in. “Be cool, man. No problem.” He put the baggie into his jacket pocket and walked away.
I looked around and thought, what is this place? My head began to clear. It was my high school prom. Wait. Now it was coming back to me. Earlier that night I had taken some pills. I got them from that guy—the one who just offered me the baggie. Some of the cool guys were doing it, so I thought, why not? How stupid. I decided it was time for me to go home.
I turned around and bumped into a girl, causing her to spill her glass of punch. “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s okay,” she said, checking her dress. “I don’t think any of it got on me.”
When she looked up, I got a lump in my throat. It was Debra. I felt my face turn red.
She put her hand on my arm and smiled at me. “Really. It’s okay.”
It was now or never. “Hey…you want to…”
What I was doing? Every kid in the room was probably watching—seeing me make a fool of myself.
“Sure,” she said.
And that one word changed my life forever.
“Wake up, Sleepyhead.”
I opened my eyes to see my beautiful wife, Debra, lying in bed with me.
“You promised me a picnic today.”
Five years ago I dreamed this scene. It was exactly like this.
I grinned. “And a picnic you shall have, Baby.”