3:19 am. I wake up as the crappy electric space heater in our bedroom clicks on and paints the ceiling an unholy orange. For months I have been waking at 3:19 am for no apparent reason. Sometimes I hear something in the attic, but not tonight. My feet are cold, and I note that the down comforter has slid off the bed. I retrieve it from between the mattress and whatever the fuck the headboard at the bottom of the bed is called (the footboard?). I tuck its edge around my sleeping wife, and get back into bed. Immediately I fall asleep, and then at 3:39 I wake. My feet are cold again, and I look down incredulously at my bare toes, sunset colored in the toaster coil glow of the heater. The comforter is off the bed. We have two we use, one for the top half of the mattress, one for the bottom. The bottom one slides off regularly, but twice in a half hour is ridiculous. I get up again and fumble around. The comforter is nowhere to be found. I turn on the reading lamp by the bed, which is now perched on a stack of books because I gave my nightstand away; the more crappy furniture we ditch before moving, the better. I have to be careful not to topple the entire arrangement, which would wake the Mrs.
The comforter is folded neatly on top of the goldfish tank in the far corner of the room. “Fucking bullshit,” I say, and Cha stirs in her sleep, drawing her feet up under the remaining comforter. I know I have walked in my sleep before, because once I woke up in the closet wrestling hanging clothes when I was a teen. To my knowledge, however, I had never done any folding while sleepwalking. I rarely do any folding while awake. I pause to turn on the light in the tank, and observe Goliathan and Ophelia sleeping upside down. They scuttle when the light comes on, and watch me expectantly, hoping for flakes. I turn off their light and put the comforter back on the bed, climb in, and just as I manage to begin drifting off I feel a tug.
When I was in graduate school the dorm had a major mouse infestation. Routinely mice would wake me climbing up the blankets hanging off my bed. This tugging is very similar to that, but much more regular, and much more insistent. Whatever is pulling is more hefty than a mouse. I think of the dreadful story Eskimo told me at Cook Liberry about a raccoon climbing into the bed of her aunt and eating her face off, and I turn on the lamp just as the comforter balloons up and over onto the goldfish tank, unfolded this time.
I see no raccoon, no mouse, no nothing. There is little sense in trying to sleep again. I make coffee and watch infomercials until I can go to work. Cha sleeps under the remaining comforter and I periodically look in on her. Reluctantly.
Quand le mystère est trop impressionnant, on n’ose pas désobéir.
[photo credit: corzblog]