Can This Be Real?

Monday afternoon. I am sitting at a cafe.

Can this be real?

For 4 years, I’ve faced January blues, back-to-school blues, Monday blues, Term 1 blues, first day blues, Sunday night blues. So many layers of blue that sometimes I think the blue looks more black than blue.

Can this be real?

I am seated at a table, not surrounded by piles of worksheets, post-it notes and to-do lists, not confronted by the glaring brightness of the school-issued laptop, not thinking about how to get through the next few classes of the day, not worrying about how to wake up those who will be sleeping, about those who will not allow themselves to be motivated. Not worrying about who will be walking past the classroom as I teach. Or attempt to. Not acting to be someone I’m not.

Can this be real?

I conclude that I must be in an alternate dimension, living an alternate existence. In another universe, a girl with the same name, face and identity is still a teacher in school, preparing materials for the next class, taking deep breaths before she gets up from her seat to exit the staff room. She is inside a classroom, facing forty pairs of eyes, thinking about how to deliver the lesson in the best way she can, given her limitations as a human being. She is writing on the board, manifesting eyes from all angles at the back of her head, making sure everyone is on track, on the same page as she is. Looking out for signs of distraction, making mental notes to talk to this student about this and that after class. Briefly thinking about the to-do list still sitting on her table.

She is dreaming of the existence I am in.

Which one of us is real?

Perhaps I am her imagination, or is she in mine?

Perhaps my guilt at being able to temporarily escape has conjured her up.

Can this be real? I hope it is. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

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