Sleep Stuff

by Bella Rum

My brother called early yesterday morning. He said he goes to bed at 9:00 pm and wakes at 3:00 am. “Welcome to the club,” I said. For years, he’s gotten up at 4:00 am to go to work. So his clock is a little off anyway. He asked if I use sleeping pills. I don’t. His doctor asked him if he wanted them, but he said no. The doctor told him to let him know if he changes his mind. I didn’t talk about my sleepwalking. It’s enough already.

I kill myself trying to stay awake at night, trying to make it until 10:00, always thinking I will sleep later if I go to bed later, but my body likes to wake at 3:00. Not every night, but often enough. The guard rail arrived. I haven’t had another episode since the marble-top dresser incident.

I’m reading a book about sleepwalking: The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian. It’s fiction but factual. Does that make sense? There are facts about sleepwalking; the story is fictional. Lianna’s  mother, Annalee Ahlberg, is a sleepwalker. In the clutches of a sleepwalking incident, she spray paints the hydrangeas in the front yard of her Vermont home silver; another time Lianna pulls her back from the edge of a bridge. Then Annalee receives successful treatment that involves lifestyle changes and medication. The bizarre dreams and sleepwalking stop. She suffers no incidents for a decade. This is where the story begins. Annalee’s husband goes on a business trip. Even though it’s been years since her last sleepwalking episode, he tells the 21-year-old Lianna to be vigilant, but you know what happens next. The next morning Lianna is awakened by her 11-year-old sister who’s in a panic because …. dum dee dum dum… her mother is missing. At first the police don’t show great enthusiasm about finding the missing mother of two, but when they find a torn swatch of Annalee’s nightshirt on a tree branch, the drama begins.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten.