Another Monday morning means another day trapped in a classroom. I arrive precisely at 7:20 in the morning in my little white Toyota, and I make the long trek from the parking lot towards my first hour classroom. The fading white walls of the corridors can be contrasted to those of an asylum, and with each step taken, they become thinner and thinner, closing in until they squash the life from the unfortunate students caught in their trap. My math class is at the very end of the hallway, closest to the doors that are my only resource of escape. The room drowns in darkness; what little light is visible bleeds through the closed curtains. It is so dark that I am unable to make out the pale shades of green and blue on the carpet below me. The adjacent whiteboards on the farthest walls are filled with all sorts of messy equations, some completed and others not, that appear as if they were written in hysteria. As I sit down in my desk, which is closest to the windows, a piercing ring fills my ears that signals the beginning of the school day, and I can taste the mixture of bile and the dread in my stomach at the thought of doing algebra. My teacher greets my fellow classmates and me with a high-pitched and way too chipper, “Good morning class!”, and we all murmur our responses. We behave like robots, all of us reaching into our bags at once to pull out our notebooks and pencils and calculators and then slowly setting them down on our desks. Once the lesson actually begins, every minute seems to be stretched out longer and longer. My professor drones on about factoring, exponents, graphs, quadratics and though I act like it, I’m not really listening. My eyes slowly begin to lose focus, and I slowly drift into a dream, though I am still aware of my consciousness.
Before I know it, I am standing in the middle of a cabin, one that is all too familiar to me. For as long as I can remember, my family and I have visited this cottage every summer to enjoy the cool weather and the peacefulness of the area, and nothing seems to have changed since my last visit. A half-completed game of checkers lies still on the coffee table next to the puzzle that took my mother a whole week to complete. The puzzle itself depicts a family gathered together at the dinner table laughing and enjoying one another’s company, much like mine does when we gather at our table every night. My grandfather’s old and hackneyed book collection stands proud in the antique bookshelf in the corner of the room, right next to the fireplace that is dancing with warm flame. The soothing crackle of the burning wood and the soft sound of my grandmother’s jazz records are background noise, and the rustling leaves of the birch and the pine trees as well as the chirping birds who reside in these trees can be heard from outside. I can smell the mixture of pine and my grandmother’s cookies that are baking in the oven, and they both make my heart swell with joy from the many happy childhood memories I’ve associated with them. The only light in the room comes from the open windows, where the natural light and the crisp air trickle into the room. The only thing visible for miles are the trees. Others may view them as ominous, but they bring a sense of comfort to me. These gentle guardians almost appear to be protecting my family’s cabin from harm with their powerful displays of bark and branches. As I step outside, I can taste the brisk air as I breathe, and the cloud of steam I exhale is evidence of this. Laying on the side of the house are two tiny pink bikes that remind me of the days where my sister and I would spend hours upon hours riding and racing each other. The memories make me smile, and I laugh to myself a bit as I remember the enjoyable, carefree life I lived as a child. I take in my surroundings, and as I feel the fresh air and the goosebumps it brings on my skin, hear the snapping of branches that echo each step I take, and breathe in the fresh scent that only the deep woods can provide, I only have one thought in my mind: I am home. I hear a light rustle in the bushes beside me, and as I search for the cause of the noise, I find myself staring into big brown eyes of a baby deer. The buck is fearless; his curious eyes lock on mine as he slowly walks closer to me. I reach out my hand as he takes another step forward, and my fingertips are millimeters from touching his soft fur when suddenly-
I’m brought out of my reverie by the harsh ringing of the school bell and the shuffling of backpacks and feet on the floor. I’m slightly dazed, and it takes a moment for me to collect my thoughts and pack up my materials so I can venture to my next class. I am not that upset that my dream had been rudely interrupted. In fact, I am content because I know I will go back home this summer. Or, maybe I can pay a visit in second hour!