Dreams are what you make of them

December 2017 Christmas Dreams Story Contest Entry

The famous words ‘I had a dream’ means many things to many people. My ‘I had a dream’ moments got me into trouble more than once when I was a teenager.

The events of that period are etched on my brain and may also form some words on the headstone of my grave because they formed my approach to life and business. It all began when I was hauled up before my then Head Teacher, Mrs Baker.

“Ah Jenkins. What is this, the fourth time you have been here before me this term. That is four times too many. What is it this time?”

“Miss, it is the same as before. Some of the girls feel that I’m undressing them when I look at them.”

“Are you undressing them?”

“N…. No Miss. I have not laid a finger or even spoken to any of them. I wouldn’t know how to.”

“Yet, once again your staring at them has made them complain to their parents and they got on to me demanding action.”

Then she added,
“You do understand that I have to exclude you. You are no longer welcome at this school. This will undoubtedly affect what you will make of yourself in your life. Do you understand this?”

“Yes Miss. I know what I’m going to do with my life. It has all come to me in a series of dreams. No one will get in my way least of all a few silly girls.”

“There is no call for that language Jenkins.”

“Well Miss, I think they are silly especially Lucy Griffiths. Someone has been doing a lot more than looking at her. If I’m not mistaken, she is about twelve weeks along.”

Mrs Baker glared at me.

“Are you seriously saying that our Head Girl is pregnant?”

“Miss, I am doing just that. She has started to get morning sickness and has really swollen ankles and despite her dressing to cover it up, she is starting to show.”

“How on earth do you know this?”

“Miss, I have five sisters all older than me. They have all had children. It was easy to see the evidence.”

Mrs Baker almost exploded in front of me. When she’d recovered at least part of her composure, she handed me a sheet of paper.

“Take this home and don’t come back!”
“Now get out of my sight.”

I had at least a bit of the last laugh when Lucy Griffiths was also told to go home from school and not come back until she was no longer pregnant. That’s what you get from going to a Roman Catholic School. They had ‘double’ standards to keep. Well, that was my opinion.

[ten years later]

“Your two o’clock is here, Mrs Baker,” I heard the school secretary say down the phone.

“Yes, I’ll tell her.”

The woman put the phone down and smiled at me.

“Mrs Baker is dealing with a disciplinary issue. She will be delayed by around ten minutes.”

I smiled.

“That will be fine.”

I went and sat down and waited. The memories of my time as an ‘inmate’ here made me smile.

Nearly fifteen minutes later Mrs Baker emerged from her office.

“Ms Jenkins? Won’t you please come into my office.”

I smiled and after standing up, I followed her into her domain. A small shudder ran down my spine as I crossed the threshold. This was the first time I’d done so without the threat of some form of punishment being not that far away.

“Please take a seat Ms Jenkins.”

I sat down.

“What can I do for you Ms Jenkins? Your letter was quite circumspect about your reasons for wanting to come here today and this particular day at that?”

“Well Mrs Baker, it is more like how I can help you. If I may, I have a little story to tell you.”

“Please… go ahead,” she replied looking at the clock to my left.

“Ten years ago today, you excluded someone from this school. That person was apparently guilty of the two crimes of having a dream and of staring at other pupils at the school. These other pupils were uneasy at what they thought that he was doing to them namely, undressing them with his eys.”

Mrs Baker sat motionless for more than a second.

“Ah, I remember now. It was Alec Jenkins. I guess that he is a relative of yours?”

“He is and he is doing very well for himself. He recently sold his business for more than a quarter of a billion pounds.”

The mention of that sizable sum of money shocked her.

“May I be so presumptious as to ask what you thought that Alec would be doing with himself after a decade?”

She thought for a second or so before answering.

“You may. He’s probably a labourer on a building site somewhere. He had these frankly grandiose dreams about making a different life for himself. His father was a labourer as was his father before him. There was no reason to assume that anything came of those dreams.”

I smiled.
Then I dug a sheet of paper out of my bag. I handed it to her.

“Do you remember this?”

She read the paper and smiled.

“It is a wonder that this still exists. It is my formal notification of his exclusion from the school. How do you have this?”

I grinned and looked at the clock.

“Ten years ago, almost to the very minute, you handed that letter to him. Your last words to him were…”

“Take this home and don’t come back!”
“Now get out of my sight.”

“You said those very words to me,” I said quietly.

It took a few seconds for her to realise what I’d said.

“Yes, Mrs Baker. I was that spotty boy with a dream. My dream was to become the person I am today. Having a successful business career was secondary to the primary dream of becoming a woman.”

I paused for a second before saying.

“I admit that I was mentally undressing those girls. I was wondering what I’d look like wearing their clothes. Now I do and some of those girls are probably wearing my clothes or at least the clothes that my company has sold.”

Then I delivered my punchline.

“Yes, Mrs Baker. Like someone distinctly more famous that I’ll ever be, I had a dream and I am living that dream and despite the best efforts of you and the school to stop me.”

I stood up and walked to the door. Then I turned and said,
“I think the world needs more dreamers because for some of them, dreams that are what you make of them and sometimes they do actually come true.”

Then End.
[Authors Note]
The idea for this story came to me during a Carol Service at Lincoln Cathederal, yesterday. I was in the City of Lincoln for the Lindum Market.

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