When I was a young child, I reread the beloved story of Heidi until the binding on my picture book started to crumble. I was particularly intrigued by her sleep-walking. When Heidi was forced to move off the mountain, away from her grandfather and her blind grandmother, she internalized the loss. That's what the psychiatrist her host hired explained to her. Her subconscious desire was to return to the mountain with its tall evergreens and freshing breezes. I knew about sleepwalking having taken a few unexpected excursions during the night myself. I was most likely to wander just a few hours after falling asleep; I was even more likely to talk in my sleep. Something didn't quite turn off when I entered the blessed world of somnolent heaven. I kept right on washing dishes, making beds, and discussing homework assignments. My friends and family had fun eliciting answers to questions that I would not recall in the morning. By the time I was in college, I was able to draw a direct correlation between stress and my nocturnal adventures. Stress precipitated the interruption of a normal sleep cycle. It was mostly amusing, sometimes disconcerting. Once, I woke up standing on the kitchen counter, sponge in hand, wiping down the dust that accumulated on top of the cabinets. Another time, I was in the garage when I awoke, trying to wrestle the kitchen garbage into the garbage bin. I have found pages of cryptic notes that I wrote during the night, except I couldn't read them in them daylight. The occasional lines that were legible astonished me with their profundity. One night, I sat up (while asleep, I promise) and punched my husband in the stomach with everything I had. I was replaying a dialogue from the previous afternoon in which my lab partner, taunted me to "Go ahead, punch me, I won't even feel it. Go on, Dawn. What are you afraid of?" My dream-state answered that to my husband's startled dismay. In recent days, my sleepwalking has reached an all time high. During the past several weeks, I have walked straight into walls thinking I was in a wide corridor or outside in a park. I woke up the other morning and found I had folded all the laundry. Another day, the dishwasher was emptied. No one claimed responsibility for these good deeds. This morning, I found a neatly folded piece of paper in the bathroom drawer. It left me marveling at what a complex and incomprehensible wonder resides inside of my skull. Here's what I had written:
The seed of doubt once planted grows roots as eradicable as the most tenacious weed.