If my friend Melinda M. in Oregon is reading this, I hope she will confirm or set straight the childhood “memory” I’m about to retell. For it was during a sleepover at Mel’s house back in high school that I discovered something about myself that reverberates to this day. Maybe especially today.
Apparently, we were all sleeping in Melinda’s bedroom in Newport News, Va., when someone woke to find me standing and staring blankly ahead in the middle of the night. When asked what was wrong, I responded, “I can’t find the clock.” A few more sentences were exchanged, then someone told me just to go back to bed and I did. I remembered none of this encounter during a discussion the next morning.
When I got home, I told my parents about the late-night clock search that my friends witnessed and, to my shock, my parents weren’t the least surprised. Turns out for years I’d sleepwalk into our kitchen each night and stare at a clock above the sink. My parents would hear me in the next-door den and say, “Go back to bed.” And I would.
After discovering I was a teenaged somnambulant, I freaked. What else might I have done while I assumed I was in bed? Then I worried what might happen in college if I didn’t stop and, with my parents’ and a doctor’s help, figured a way to halt the sleepwalking. I don’t recall the specific treatment, but every now and then I worry I’ve relapsed. I’ll wake with fresh bruises on my legs and immediately think I walked into furniture in my sleep. Or I’ll have this weird deja vu the next day, like a dream that takes place in the house really wasn’t made up.
Why bring this up now? Because today my stress-fractured hip has been hurting more and more, instead of less. I’ve been much better about using the crutches in the house and yet the area’s throbbing like crazy. It feels like I’ve been walking or standing on it for a long while. Say it ain’t so. Say it’s just my overactive imagination or it’s part of the healing process. But if I’m right, say, “Go back to bed” if you see me roaming aimlessly around the house. My future as a runner might depend on it.