I pull out of the school drop-off line and listen to the creak of the motor pulling the top down off my car. I read somewhere exposing yourself to natural light first thing in the morning is the best way to wake up, and I didn't want to wake up this, her last day of fourth grade.
I woke only begrudgingly, soaked in sweat for the second time last night, my first tshirt and shorts lying in a still-damp heap at the foot of the bed. I wasn't drenched from a nightmare; I'd been having dreams all night of college, back when I could wave an arm at a group of near-strangers and invite them on an adventure or to play a game, and they would come with me. Back when I could walk into a room of people and start conversations halfway through with people I'd never met before.
The soaking comes from getting older, from the prelude to the change. The dreams come from writing about that time in life when anything seems possible: age nineteen.
I should've stayed up when I rose first to change my clothes, when I woke shivering to find myself damp and cold but also hot in that confusing way that seems to be my new normal. I should've stayed up, because when I did finally rise, it was hard from the middle of a deep sleep, and being ripped from that lovely dream where I was at a party and everyone was smiling at me and we didn't have anywhere to be or anything to do the next morning because finals were over and we were floating in the knowledge that we'd secured our spot at college for another year, that we didn't have to be real adults yet.
Instead I pulled on the third tshirt of the night/morning and laced up my running shoes and made sure my daughter was wearing sunscreen and deoderant and fixed the broken garage door and drove to school.
And then, as I pulled away, I dropped the convertible's top to let in the early summer sunshine and drove home, remembering the dream.