Aside

Driving, Dreaming, and Losing My Brother

      Today, after hanging out at a coffee shop for a bit (the barista was cute, and he looked me right in the eye and I felt my arms and face get heavy, so I stumbled over to my table and focused reeeally hard on putting sugar in my coffee even though my hands weren’t working so well… Not smooth! Come on, cataplexy!), I went to pick my little brother up from his Driver’s Ed course. As I was waiting, he pulled up in the brightly-marked “STUDENT DRIVER” vehicle, asked the instructor if he was good to go, and walked over to my car, texting on his flip phone.

He didn’t see me waiting for him, and he kept walking, and the next thing I knew, he had gotten into someone else’s car and they drove off together. I watched them pull out of the parking lot, dumbfounded, and tried to call his cell phone — no response! Unsure of what to do, I got out of my car and headed in to the Driver’s Ed office, planning to check if Driver’s Ed really was done for the day. I wasn’t sure how to tell my mom that I’d lost my fantasy-minded little brother.

I had one hand on the door handle when another STUDENT DRIVER car pulled up and parked — my brother in the driver’s seat. AGAIN.

He got out, and I stared at him. “I just called you,” I said.

“I know, I felt my phone vibrate as I was driving,” he said in his raspy-deep, teenage-boredom voice. “You didn’t need to call, we’re not even late.”

That was when I realized that the first incarnation of my brother was a hallucination — or, to phrase it more properly, a dream.

My brother hadn’t walked past my car and driven away with a stranger — he was right here in front of me, vaguely annoyed that I was smothering him with phone calls during his driving lessons.

So, on the bright side, I didn’t lose my brother today, and I’m not losing my mind, either, probably — I’m just dreaming.

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