I had never done that before, fall asleep in a class. I could not figure out why no one had awakened me—or why I had not heard the bell announcing the end of the day.
The note from Gil—yes, from Gil (what a surprise)—answered it. I’ll just put his words here:
I am sorry you are angry with me. I don’t know what I have done wrong, but if you just tell me, I will do something about it.
I knew you were sleeping, but here’s what Mr. Gisborne said: “Aw, look at Vickie.” Everyone did. “It’s the first time I’ve ever seen her so upset about something.” And then he cried some more.
Anyway, I didn’t want to ruin his idea of why your head was on the table. If he thought you were upset and crying, well, let him think so.
I touched you on the shoulder as I walked by your desk on the way out, but you were sound asleep.
And you were still sound asleep when I came back to write this note. I’ve been sitting beside you, watching you sleep. (You snore a little, did you know that?) But I’m not going to wait around for you to wake up. It might scare you, seeing me here with you in an empty room. And I don’t want to give you another reason to be mad at me.
P. S. Oh, I almost forgot, one of the sheets Mr. Gisborne passed out is going to upset you … but don’t blame me! I had nothing to do with it!
I hated to disappoint Gil (not really: I think, at that point, I would have loved to disappoint him), but his note—and its information (disturbing as they were)—did not bother me so much as the dream I’d had during my surprising—astonishing, really—nap during science class.
I step down from a train that has arrived at Niagara Falls. I don’t know how I got on that train—or why I’m at the Falls. [This part surely came from my recent reading, right?] I don’t know where I got on the train; I remember nothing about the journey—well, only this: The woman who was pushing the snack cart up and down the rows looked so familiar. Haven’t you had that experience? Seeing someone somewhere—maybe in a dream, maybe at a mall or something actual—and just being positive that you know that person? But you can’t remember who it is or where and how it was that you knew? And once, as she was walking past me, I felt she smiled at me—but when I looked more closely, I saw no smile at all.
Off the train now. And then, somehow, I am beside the Niagara River near the top of the Falls. The river’s incredible power as it arrives at its dropping point is something only a witness can understand—or appreciate. The sound is a roar. The air is thick with mist. I am staring at the top of the falls, staring at the mist. I think I see a face in the mist—it’s the woman’s face, the woman from the train, and now I’m almost certain who it is. But … what do I do about this hand I feel in the center of my back? I turn to look and at the same instant feel myself propelled out into the frigid river.
So, reading this, maybe you can see why Gil’s silly note didn’t affect me too much. I was still shivering from the freezing waters of the Niagara, still wondering who the woman was, who had pushed me—and why I was even dreaming about that situation at all.
Still … I felt my temperature rising as I read Gil’s note—and then read it again before folding it carefully, placing it in my notebook, and picking up the other two sheets he’d mentioned. One of them was just a worksheet: the usual questions from the next chapter we were supposed to read at home.
But the other one was a real annoyance!
It, too, was a handout from Mr. Gisborne, but it was a list of students who would be working together on Science Fair projects. He had assigned people partners—and guess who mine was going to be?