It was always the same repeat played weekly throughout my elementary school years. I’m in the backseat of a nondescript car with my parents up front and my younger brother seated beside me. We’re on a cartoonishly twisted dirt road climbing up the side of a mountain and for some reason I’m not challenging my brother to scooch over to my side of the car and meet his doom. This is how you know that everything is a dream – Childhood Brianna never missed an opportunity to cajole her brother into a punch in the face.
We’re traveling somewhere far from home and my brother is inexplicably ill and we’re taking him to a doctor who, of course, lives at the top of a craggy mountain equipped with a road designed by the Cambodian Transit Authority (this is the most realistic part of the dream – my parents eschewed asphalt and never took us anywhere with a paved road). When we reach the top of the mountain the doctor's office is a scene plucked straight from Scooby Doo – wooden shack, peeling paint, cracked windows, flower beds full of wilted pansies – things could not look more ripe for evil-making. The scene gets no better as we walk over the creaky porch and through the door only to be greeted by Witch Hazel herself.
My parents seem nonplused and hand over my brother to the good doctor who whisks him away into her lair while Mom and Dad basically sip tea and take a nap. So finally I have to step up to the plate and point out what is obvious to any 5 year old: That lady is a witch doctor! Baby brother is gonna die in there! Of course no one takes me seriously and I start crying and freaking out which, thankfully, wakes me from my slumber.
Suddenly there I am, lying in my pink loft bed only 2 feet from the ceiling suddenly remembering, “Dude, I hate my brother! Not only does that little twerp ruin my waking hours but now I can’t even make it to first grade well rested! And we have finger painting today!”