Nonfiction Memoir

Sleepwalking at 2 AM

It was the sound that woke him. The unmistakable sound of someone urinating — except the urine wasn’t cascading down into a toilet bowl.

It was free falling straight down into his black leather boots neatly lined up below the window sill in his bedroom.

I had spent the night, and around 2 AM in the morning, my bladder had a hankering to lighten its load.

So I got up from the bed and walked straight to the window sill, and with my eyes closed shut, peed right into my Papa’s boots.

Perhaps it was unconscious payback. When I spent the night at my grandparents’ house in Drakes Branch, my Papa would do two things to get me to fall asleep:

  1. Scratch my back until I’d start to doze
  2. Then tell me a ghost story so I’d be too scared to get up out of bed

More than likely, though, it wasn’t unconscious payback. It was the cranberry juice I guzzled at too late an hour before bed.

See, I used to sleepwalk. I don’t know when it started, but walking around in the middle of the night with my eyes closed was just something I did.

Some toss, some turn.

Some dream.

Others have nightmares.

I walked.

And sometimes I talked.

My mom said you could have a conversation with me.

It worried my mom to a degree; and so, as caring mothers do, she took it upon herself to scare the ever loving shit out of me one time.

“You’re going to walk straight out this house in the middle of the night someday,” she said. “What if we can’t find you? What if you find a way into Phenix pool or walk off into the woods?”

As a footnote, my family, and this appears to be genetic, has a tendency to think worst case scenario first. It doesn’t mean we believe the worst case scenario will happen. But it’s important we vocalize it so we can walk ourselves back from the ledge and toward the most likely, less dastardly scenario. It’s a bit of reverse engineering you could say.

With that comforting thought firmly planted in my brain, I nestled all snug in my bed while visions of sleepwalking terror and catastrophe danced in my head.

To my knowledge I only peed in someone’s shoes once. Who’s to say really? It’s possible that at least one of my unsuspecting friends whom I spent the night with in childhood were laid victim to my bladder at 2 AM — and they just slept right through it.

We used to run through creeks during the day when we played. Maybe their shoes didn’t dry overnight because they were full of fresh wiz only a few hours before.

Was it you Josh? Andy?

And I never did venture the mean streets of my hometown in the dead of night — again, to my knowledge.

The sleepwalking eventually subsided. My mom’s scare tactic may have been the cure.

But my family sleeps pretty soundly here. It’s possible I still sleepwalk and no one knows but my dog. She sees me walking around at 2 AM wondering what the hell is going on and why I’m ignoring her request for a treat.

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