I had a dream. A dream that I was trapped in a dingy apartment, curled up in a comforter that hadn't been washed in weeks. Bunches of clutter completely blanketed the cramped room. This was totally different from my nice home in Irvine, thank goodness. Hold on. 'Sniff'. 'This does not smell like my bedroom,' I think to myself. 'Ugh, what a disgusting stench! And why is the mattress so scratchy? Oh, I finally hit puberty! That's it, that's it. My sense of touch is distorted by puberty. It's also no wonder I smell like I'm in need of a bath (B.O.!). There's no other way.' I yawned and stretched while my fingers groped for my pillow. 'Huh, the pillow fell again.' I rubbed my bleary eyes and searched the floor. All I saw was a sea of junk, and no pillow. Alarmingly puzzled, I frantically looked around me.

A towering stack of papers. Shirts and socks strewn all over the floor. A half eaten burger from McDonald's. Finally, I caught sight of this fatigued, bewildered woman staring back at me in the mirror. I screamed in terror and was more terrified when I couldn't even recognize my own voice. I tried to convince myself that this was just a dream, but no matter how hard I slapped myself, I was still trapped in this grimy room with this woman that looks like she hadn't gone to bed in years! Then it hit me. I quickly with trembling hands touched "my" face, gasping at the unfamiliar roughness of skin. 'This is not me. I am not my own self. I … am switched at nightmare.'

Trying to stay as calm as possible, I examined "myself" in the mirror once more. I felt so sorry for "myself". "Just look at this poor lady, with dark circles and a sorrowful look in her gray eyes so deep," I said. "Her knotted coffee hair hangs over her face." I felt so much pity that I was almost on the verge of tears. Well, she was. I thought to myself, 'If I need to get out of this mess, I have to start somewhere.' However, my heart was not willing to do anything. 'I want to explore,' my heart pleaded. 'Just wait a little, find more about this life.' Impulsively, I agreed to do so and started my journey into a deep adult world.

At the next hour or so, I have discovered many things. I have learned that this woman's name is Martha Wilson, a full time nighttime worker as a supermarket merchandiser. She has had a hard lifestyle: she is a divorced mother for over a year and has many struggles in raising her two boys. Her work is a load of tension. Struggling to make ends meet, she glues herself to work each day to provide for her children and to give them the best. (I got all of this from her daily journal!) 'Oh, what a poor woman! She works so hard, she doesn't even have time to take care of herself.' "That can change," I exclaimed out loud. I found some decently clean clothes after rummaging every single drawer in the room. As I stepped out of the room, the scenery never changes. I could still see the dusty floor with worn furniture complements. On the greasy counter, I spotted a yellow Sticky Note saying "Hi Mom, out with Jake to the shop. Will be back at 3." 'This must be one of her sons. I recognize this writing from one of Michael's essays tucked into Martha's diary.' I glanced around the room to look for a clock of some sort. The wall clock read 1:14 in the afternoon. 'I have art class at 3:15!' Oh no, only less than two hours to get back in my real body, real home, real me!'

After staying the whole morning trapped in that musty old apartment, I honestly nearly died of joy as I stepped out into the fresh, clean atmosphere outside. However, I was still very troubled about how I would get back home. Nevertheless, I started to explore my new surroundings. 'I have two hours, right?' As I took a walk on the bustling suburban streets, I saw rows and rows of funky little shops and restaurants. The smell of crawfish and the wonderful aroma of French biegnets filled my nose. Right then and there, I finally realized that I was actually in the wonderful city of New Orleans! I spotted Cafe du Monde, a cafe with the BEST beignets that I would never, EVER, find in California. That brought back so many memories of my early childhood life. My family would always take a nice saunter in this area, spotting wonderful jazz musicians and sometimes entertaining break-dancing in the streets. We would stop by this restaurant and grab some delicious deep-fried beignets. As luck would have it, I found Martha a nice, crisp 5 dollar bill stuck in a sewage drain, fluttering in the breeze. "Oh, I hope Martha likes beignets!" I whispered to myself. I stepped into the coffee shop and ordered a couple of those piping hot pastries. As my teeth sank into a cloud, my whole body flashed a blinding white...

...and sadly, I woke up in my normal bed with a huge drool stain running across my cheek.

From that day on, I have thought more about my early days and am trying to show appreciation to my parents for giving me the experience of a lifetime, although I may have taken it for granted when I was younger. Anyway, it was just a dream.

Or was it?