It was the 70’s and my mother and I were living in a two story condo in La Habra at the time when I developed a bit of a sleep walking problem. When my journeys first began they were innocent and unnoticeable. Just little things, like walking from my room into my mother’s room and crawling into bed and spending the rest of the night with her. I would wake up the next morning wondering how I got there. But I was a kid. I didn’t think much of it.
It was when I started to disappear altogether that my mother started to catch on to my nighttime activities. One morning she came into my room to wake me up for school and I was gone. Missing. MI to the A. Nowhere to be found. She searched the entire condo from top to bottom and no Stacy. Needless to say my mom was freaking out. As she stood in my bedroom in utter terror she heard movement from under the bed. She got down on her hands and knees and looked under the bed and there I was. Not only under the bed, but up against the wall fast asleep.
Things didn’t get much better after that, because not only did I walk around the house, but I started talking as well. I would walk into my mother’s room at night, climb into her bed and then start yelling obscenities at Tyla, the girl who tortured me in school, all the while trying to hit my poor sleeping mother. Things were starting to get scary. My mom took me to the doctor and the doctor asked my mother if I had been under any stress lately. I had. School for me wasn’t exactly what you would call an “ideal” situation, and the doctor was convinced that was the problem. “Whatever you do, don’t wake her up. Waking up a sleep walker can be very dangerous,” he told my mother. My mother just nodded at him and stared at me.
If my mother couldn’t wake me, she sure as hell was going to take some precautions. She hung big bells on every door that led outside. That way if I tried to make it outside it would wake up my mother. I don’t really think my mom actually slept peacefully again until I was 17 and on my way to college. Most nights she would just sit and wait. My mother’s room was directly across the hall from mine and she had a pretty good view into my room. One night she was reading and minding her own business when sleepwalking Stacy struck again. I got up from my bed and made it through my mess of a room not stepping or tripping on one toy. I picked up a shoe skate, walked into my mother’s room and threw it at her. This did not please my mother. She took me back to the doctor and requested Valium. For herself.
The sleepwalking continued. One night my poor strung out mother was sitting downstairs at our dining room table when I came down the stairs with the now all too familiar glazed look in my eyes. I walked through the living room, past the dining room and into the kitchen. I then proceeded to take my pants down and sit on the trashcan.
“What are you doing?” my mother asked me.
“I’m going to the bathroom!” I informed her like she was stupid.
“That is not the bathroom!!!” Then I apparently gave her a very dirty look, pulled my pants back up and walked into the walk in pantry where we kept our food.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she yelled at me now in a run for the pantry.
“I’M GOING TO THE BATHROOM!” She ran into the pantry and grabbed me by my arm and gently let me to the downstairs bathroom. Then she patiently led me back upstairs to my room and back to bed.
About 15 minutes later I came back down the stairs with the same glazed look in my eyes. I walked through the living room, past the dining room and into the kitchen. I pulled my pants down and sat on the trashcan once again.
“What are you doing?” my mother asked me, thinking this must be some sort of cruel joke.
“I’m going to the bathroom!”
“THAT IS NOT THE BATHROOM!” My poor frustrated mother took me to the bathroom once again and then back upstairs to my room and back to bed. Then she waited, and waited, and waited, but I never ventured back down. I’m pretty sure she didn’t sleep at all that night.
Behavior like this went on for years. Missing Stacy. Wandering the house Stacy. Cussing Stacy. I did my best to keep my mother on her toes at all times. There was even the time I went downstairs into the kitchen and ate an entire stick of butter. Was it good? How would I know? I was asleep, silly. When I was 10 years old my grandfather passed away and left my mother a home in Big Bear, CA. The first thing she put up in the new house was the bells. This home however was much, much smaller than the condo we had lived in before. It only had one bedroom so the chances of me hurting myself or escaping were much slimmer. But an odd thing happened when we moved. I stopped sleepwalking. I still talked in my sleep, but I no longer walked. Nevertheless, the bells stayed on the doors until long after I had gone to college. You know, just in case I decided to “sleepwalk” my way out to a keg party some night.
My cousin Mark moved in with us a few months after we moved to Big Bear. He took my bed, which was in the back part of the living room that my mom had turned into a makeshift bedroom, and I slept with my mom. Mark was also a sleep-talker. At night we would have incoherent conversations with one another through the open bedroom door. My mother felt like she was going insane.
“Cats. Did you see that cat?” I would say.
“SnuffgrAHHHH!” he would respond.
“I know there’s a cat here.”
“We need to find it and feed it!”
“TYLA!!!” I would scream at the top of my lungs, sitting straight up in the bed while wildly swinging punches in the air. Each morning, my mother gave us dirty looks while drinking her coffee and trying to recover from the night before. My mother was incredibly happy when Mark found his own place because then I was able to move back into my own bed and have one-person conversations with myself again.
Just as I thought the sleepwalking had officially come to and end, I had gone on a river trip with a bunch of kids from high school and a few parents. The nights on the river were so hot. The temperatures were well into the 100’s. I don’t do so well in the heat. I HATE the heat. Everyone had picked his or her place to sleep and I had chosen the top bunk directly across from the bathroom inside the riverboat we had rented. A guy named Pat was in the bunk below me. One night I woke up to hear Pat knocking on a door somewhere, and asking, “Stacy are you okay?” I was sitting down. That much I knew, and I was sweating my ass off. I don’t remember anything about how I got here. I couldn’t see a thing, and I was scared. I remember standing up and as I stood up my right hand hit a solid wall and I heard a click. Shower door. I’m in the bathroom! Okay Stacy, just stay clam and try and find the door.
“Stacy are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m good.” The sweat was dripping off of me at this point as I ran my hands over the sink and eventually found the doorknob. I’m free!!! I opened the door and there was poor, sweet Pat, my hero.
“You scared me.”
“I’m sorry. I must have been sleepwalking. I can’t stay inside it’s too hot.”
“The others are sleeping on the roof, do you want to sleep up there?”
“Yeah, that sounds good.” So on the roof we went. It was much cooler outside, but once I lay down I had a terrible thought, what if I walk off the roof into the water and nobody hears me?
“I can’t sleep up here. I’ve got to find somewhere else.” Luckily we beached the boat at night so I jumped off the boat and onto the sand. As I laid a towel down on the beach, which was about to become my new bed, I looked back at the boat and there in the moonlight I saw Brian. He had laid himself over the giant ice cooler that was attached to the boat. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“I’m so hot,” Brian said to me once he noticed I was standing on the beach.
“Me too. I’m miserable.
“I can’t sleep.”
“Me neither.” Then Brian came up with a brilliant plan. We took two lawn chairs and put them half in the water, that way when we lay on them our feet and calves were in the water and kept us cool. It was perfect until I went to roll over. The legs of the lawn chair were perfectly stuck in the sand but the lawn chair shifted so that the leg closest to the water folded in on itself and I slid into the water. I was done. I was tired, hot and wet. Can a sister just get a break around here? Luckily the next night we stayed in hotel rooms in Vegas and I got to sleep in a comfy bed in an air-conditioned room.
I only sleep walked once after the river trip and I awoke to find myself standing in my underwear in my kitchen with my arms, face and as much of my torso as I could possible manage to get inside my freezer. It was a hot night in LA and I didn’t have air-conditioning. Poptart says I still talk from time to time, but I guess I’m over the sleepwalking thing, unless it’s hot that is. If you want to have some real fun invite me over for a slumber party and turn the heat up. Just don’t forget the bells on the door. I’m older now; so after I throw your shoes at you, pee in your trashcan, and yell obscenities at you, I may just drink all your vodka.
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