Dream of: 26 October 2001 "The Catcher In The Rye"

About 10 students, including myself, were in a classroom at Portsmouth High School. The teacher hadn't yet arrived; all the other students, except myself, were talking. Nobody knew me; I had been away from Portsmouth for quite a while. I could tell that everyone was curious about who I was. Finally I spoke; with an exuberant voice I announced that I had been living in Hollywood, California for the last two years. Everyone was amazed. When someone asked me what I had been doing in Hollywood, I replied, "I acted, I read, I worked."

I told them I had had a fabulous time in Hollywood. When someone asked me why I had returned to Portsmouth, I groaned as if in pain and put my hands over my face. Finally I lowered my hands, revealing that I was only joking about being sad to be in Portsmouth, and I declared, "I love Portsmouth!"

The words sounded strange even to me – I didn't remember having ever said that I loved Portsmouth. I tried to explain that during the past two years I had learned that it didn't really matter where I was as long as I was happy with myself – and I was!

The teacher (a dour diminutive man about 60 years old who resembled John Glass, a teacher who used to teach at Portsmouth High School) finally walked into the room. Most of the time I could only see his legs from the knees down, because the students and I were all sitting on the floor, and we seemed to be crouching down as if we were under a bed.

As the class began, I realized one of the students (instead of the teacher) would decide what our assignment for the day would be. Sitting on my right, in an equally cramped crunched-down position was a girl (who seemed to be in her late teens). On my left sat a fellow (likewise in his late teens); – he was given the task of choosing the assignment for the day. He apologized that he was going to assign the writing of a book report – the most difficult assignment available – and we would have to write the book report right now.

I immediately began thinking, trying to recall a book which I had read, but I couldn't think of anything. Surely I could remember something. Finally, Franz Kafka's novel The Trial popped into my mind – I could certainly write a book report about that book. But just as quickly I recalled that this was an English literature class, and The Trial was German literature. I promptly thought of the American writer J.D. Sallinger's The Catcher in the Rye. I recalled the novel quite well. I might even be able to write a book report in which I could compare and contrast The Trial and The Catcher in the Rye. My central theme could be "alienation", a trait shared by the heroes of both novels.

As I had been thinking about the book report, I had been moving closer to the attractive girl on my right. As I began massaging her soft neck, I could feel the thin light-brown sweater which she was wearing. Abruptly she told me to be careful because the teacher had lain down on his stomach on the floor and was crawling toward us. He finally tapped me and said, "Sir, see that her button falls off in the closet."

His words somewhat offended me, even though I didn't quite understand what he was trying to say. He seemed to have an unhealthy, somewhat lascivious air, about him. I didn't think I would comply with his request.

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