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  • Talking to the girl in the stairwell. She was late for class, about 13 years old. She was looking down the center of the stairwell wistfully and I knew what she was up to - she must have a crush on one of the ghosts. They were all out today, more than I'd ever seen, after getting yelled at yesterday for being lazy. The headmaster had given them a big mean "pep talk" telling them to get off their asses and spook up the place.

    She asked me if I knew any of the ghosts, and I said I only knew Peeves. Her face lit up. "Oh, he's a cutie! But he's way down in fifth form, surely you can't see him from way up here." She couldn't. But she knew he was down there.

    I walked her up to her class at the top of the tower and told them she'd been helping me, so she wouldn't get yelled at for being late. The room was filled with first-graders who cheered when they saw me. I left quickly but the teacher came out after me, offering me the chance to tour her room. I accepted and went to look at all the cool stuff edebroux had left behind. I knew the things were hers though I did not remember the stories behind them.

  • We had moved west hoping to see flowers before we got to East Mission, but we did not.
  • I had gone back to re-live middle school as a boy. A teacher and the principal helped in the early stages of the plan. My entire disguise was not wearing my hairpins.   Fucking brilliant! And it worked.
  • This briefcase is too damn complicated. Inside it was a list of options and instructions. Locked shut / locked open / not locked but latched / open. "Minimize air" would kind of vacuum-seal it shut, "to reduce paper shuffling and document damage within the briefcase."

    While I was trying to figure out the fucker, my car rolled away. Edebroux went running after it and she rounded a blind corner - we were at a busy gas station and I had a brief flash of I really hope she doesn't get squashed in this dream.   And she doesn't.

    edebroux chases my car while I stand frozen, praying that it will flatten no one and not crunch itself into a pole or building either. It rolls and rolls, just out of her reach. Across a street and into a roundabout. I am freaking out.

    Suddenly edebroux is gone and I am in her place. The cars have turned into people, running in a circle. My car has turned into Tobey Maguire, running with blind eyes. I scream EVERYBODY OUT! but no one listens. I duck in between the running people, who seem just as dangerous as the cars. I lean and manage to snag the cuff of Tobey's jeans, and he goes down on his face and I fall over too, but we are out of the traffic pattern so we are safe.

    Flash to somewhere inside. My mother is fussing around bringing Tobey soup and so forth. He has a bloody nose and won't stop smiling at me over his soup. I am watching him from a doorway. Standing next to me is the weird son from Roseanne. I feel very warmly toward him because he is my brother and had something to do with Tobey's rescue.

    Tobey says to the boy, "I hardly recognized you," and points to his mustache. The boy blushes, he's not used to it yet, and is used to people making fun of it. But Tobey means it. He tells him it makes him look older. I do not mention that Tobey himself looks about 17, and his facial hair is making him look like just a kid.

    I hug my brother before he goes to bed and it hurts to press my face against his shoulder because I have a bloody nose too, from falling. My brother and mom disappear. Tobey tells me he is going up to bed, still smiling around his poor swollen nose.

    Before I go to meet Tobey I pick up a book and it falls open to this:

    Let's say you are growing old and one day you realize,
    she's no longer the same person you always wanted to be
    buried next to. Somewhere along the way, she peeled back
    the girl and stepped out, unrecognizable. Don't say it to
    her, she would weep for the loss as well; it's sad.

    It hit me so hard I stood in the doorway gasping, eyes shut trying not to cry, trying to make sure I would remember it. I ran into the bathroom to look at my face, and was instantly awake.