Chapter 16

Charlotte woke with dry eyes feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day with humor. She had not dreamed of her father that night, or even of Danny, but she did remember something about flying pigs and chocolate-covered clouds.

Since Charlotte had no tears to wash away, she figured that the shower she had taken the night before would be good enough for school, and proceeded in throwing back her covers and sitting up. The early morning light streamed through her half-drawn window blinds as if to say, "Good morning, Charlotte!" and made her actually happy that it was Monday. Yes, Mondays mean that school is starting again, and that you have five more days of torture until the two days of freedom called the weekend, but Charlotte actually had one thing to look forward to this day. She and Danny had agreed to sit together at lunch to talk more about her mom's homecoming decorations. As it was, there was still a lot to plan that an hour at the park couldn't resolve.

Charlotte stood, stretched, and walked to her closet to find some appropriate clothes to wear to school. Red elbow-length shirt? No, too warm. Green Abercrombie shirt? Too tight. Whatever, I'll just wear this. Charlotte pulled out of her closet a white button-up blouse, and took a black spaghetti-strap shirt out of her chest of drawers along with a clean bra. She changed out of her pajama top into her shirts quickly, and chose a dark pair of jeans to compliment her light vs. dark apparel for the day. She picked up her backpack, shoes, and socks before heading down to the kitchen to make breakfast and a lunch for herself and Phillip. Charlotte glanced at the clock on her way out of her bedroom to see how much time she had saved herself by not taking a shower. Hmm, not bad. If Charlotte woke Phillip at the same time that she normally did, she would have a whole fifteen minutes to herself, for it was only six-forty.

Charlotte packed for her lunch a roast beef sandwich with mayonnaise, mustard, and lettuce, and for Phillip she packed a ham and turkey sandwich with some mustard. Yes Phillip liked mayonnaise too, but since he knew his dad loved it, he didn't want to think of his dad and start crying when he was eating his sandwich at school. Some of the kids might think he is a little strange for crying over eating meat or something. All Charlotte had to do was remember this simple request of Phillip's, and she didn't have any major crisis on her hands.

With the lunches packed ready-to-go, Charlotte pulled two bowls, two spoons, and two boxes of cereal down for Phillip and herself for breakfast. As Charlotte was pulling down the Cap'n Crunch and Raisin Bran, she realized just how long it had been since the last time that she had eaten it for breakfast. Maybe I'll have it again, just this once, Charlotte thought to herself as she replaced the Raisin Bran box to its place above the fridge. Is it really so bad to want to be a kid again? As Charlotte looked at the clock in the kitchen to see what time it was, she realized her ten minutes alone were up, and she had to wake up Phillip so he could get ready to leave for school.

"Phillip? Are you awake? It's time to get up and go to school. Your friends will wonder where you are!" Charlotte whispered into Phillip's room, fearing falling on her face for the lack of order in his room.

Phillip yawned loudly.

"Are you sure it's seven? It seems earlier to me."

"No, it's really ten o'clock, and we're both late to school because I wanted to let you sleep."

"What?!" Phillip cried as he sat straight up in bed. "I'm late to class? Does that mean I get to stay home?"

"Sorry kid, but it really is seven. Now, last night I washed some of your clothes, so you have clean clothes to wear to school today. I didn't want to hear that you'd been stinking up classrooms with your clothes. So what would you like to wear today?"

Phillip was grumpy at being tricked into actually waking up, but he fell backwards into bed again and grumbled some incoherent phrase that Charlotte was somehow able to understand.

"Okay, I'll just leave that here with some pants, and breakfast is ready when you want it. No, the milk is not on your cereal yet, and yes it is in the fridge still. See you in the kitchen."

Phillip walked down the stairs wearing the plain red t-shirt he had picked out, one of the few red shirts Charlotte had washed, and his backpack on his shoulder. There was nothing unusual about this picture, except for the fact that Phillip was staring at the ground and his face had a very curious, pensive look about it. He looked as if he were confused, or possibly in awe about something. Sometimes with Phillip, you just couldn't tell.

"Hey Phil, what's wrong? Did you forget something at school on Friday?"

"No, I remembered my dream from last night, and I was wondering if it might come true. In my dream, I was–"

"Wait! Don't you remember that if you tell a good dream before you eat something, it won't come true? Here. Eat some Cap'n Crunch, then tell me."

"Okay." Phillip took the small handful of dry cereal that Charlotte handed him, ate it in one bite, and continued where he left off in his story. "So, in my dream, I was at talking to Zorgon where the Power Rangers meet, and then the Power Rangers came to talk to me! It was really cool because Billy even gave me his Power Rangers medallion that makes him morph. I hope he can get another one."

"I think that Zorgon will give Billy another morphing medallion if he gave it to a good cause. So what else happened in your dream?"

Phillip thought for a moment. "Well, I don't remember exactly what they said, but they said I had to say good-bye to daddy. Then my dream went all bright and fuzzy, like maybe I was traveling like the Power Rangers do, in that stream of light and I heard daddy talking to me about school, and how he was proud that I knew my ABC's. I remember he was sitting on the ground on a blanket, and that he told me to sit in his lap so we could talk. We talked about school, and mommy, and how Peanut is doing, if he still liked biting people, and all sorts of stuff. Then I remember he said I had to go, but that we would be able to talk some more later. I said okay, then you woke me up saying I was late for school. And that was my dream."

Charlotte felt like she was hyperventilating and couldn't get enough air when in reality, the moment Phillip mentioned seeing and speaking to their dad in a dream, she had all but stopped breathing. Her mind finally rebooted itself and yelled at her to breath. She followed the directions and took a large intake of breath so as not to pass out. "Charlotte, are you okay?"

"Yeah! I just remembered I didn't, uh, do my science homework! Yeah. I'm gonna get a zero, but that's okay. So, are you glad that you had that dream, or are you sad about saying good-bye to daddy?"

"I guess I was sad at first, but he said we could talk soon. You can't break promises in a dream, so I know he's gonna come back soon."

Charlotte nodded as if in response to Phillip's stance on his dream while she poured milk over the two cereal bowls on the table. She then put away the milk and placed one bowl and a spoon in front of Phillip while placing the second bowl and spoon in front of her chair. Smiling at Phillip, Charlotte dipped her spoon into the cereal, producing several crunch berries on its end, and brought the spoon to her mouth shortly before giggling as Phillip began obnoxiously eating his bowl of breakfast.

"Good morning Mr. Adams! How was your weekend?" Charlotte inquired as she walked into her classroom ten minutes before school. She needed to speak to Mr. Adams about possibly serving detentions during lunch instead, for she still had her leadership assignments to deal with. Mr. Adams was currently standing writing down the homework on the left side of the whiteboard so he did not have to do it during class and miss criticizing his students.

"My weekend was full of grading essays written by incompetent sixth graders. Their paragraphs had about two to three sentences in most all paragraphs, and surprisingly, there were really only four paragraphs per essay! An introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and no conclusion! That was in the best of the essays, and don't get me started on the grammar and spelling," Mr. Adams droned on about the horrid essays. This would have been perfectly fine, except the writers of the essays were learning English as their second language since the beginning of the sixth grade year. "Now what can I help you with?"

"Um, I would like to speak with you about my serving detention during snack this week. It completely slipped my mind that today and Wednesday I have to work on a project for leadership. Could I possibly serve detention during lunch instead? Even if I need to serve all four days still, that would really help me."

Mr. Adams sighed in a not-so-silent way that he had somehow mastered. "Did it also slip your mind that you were not to be falling asleep in my class? Or did you just dream it away? You said you would serve detention during the snacks on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and you will arrive at Mrs. Lewis' room every one of those days. You will have to take up your problems with your leadership teacher if you want to complete your project deadline. I'll see you in class in ten minutes." And with that, he sat down in his chair to further criticize more essays by foreign language students. Charlotte left her backpack at her seat and walked out without another word

Upon walking out of her English teacher's room, Charlotte strode towards the next building over where her leadership teacher taught eighth grade U.S. History. Charlotte walked in the door and spotted Mr. Hallum sitting in his desk correcting extra credit essays turned in with one of their chapter tests. He saw that many of his students were getting low grades on his tests, so he decided to help their grades by giving small amounts of extra credit with each test to boost their grades a few points. He was nice like that.

Mr. Hallum heard the door open and after he finished reading the paragraph he was on, he looked up. "Good morning Charlotte. How are you doing? Do you need some help in history? If you have any questions about the world I can't help you, but anything to do with the U.S., ask away."

"Sorry, not here about history. I would like to ask you about the leadership assignments during snack, though. I gave myself detention for four snacks this week, and two of those snacks are during leadership. Would there be any possibility of coming in during lunch and working on the poster then?"

Mr. Hallum thought for a moment. "I have a meeting with some of my students about their grades during lunch today, but the rest of the week I'm free, so yeah, you could come in tomorrow and Wednesday to work on it. But since you have more time on the poster, I'm expecting you and the rest of the group to make it really cool, okay?"

"Of course Mr. Hallum. I'll see you tomorrow then."

"Bye, and don't forget my offer on the history help," Mr. Hallum said as an afterthought as Charlotte was walking out the door and the first bell rang to announce the five minutes until school was to start.