April is Holly’s birthday month. Funny how I just got a national holiday (Merry Groundhog’s Day!). For one of her presents, she chose for us to spend the weekend with her grandparents in Greer’s Ferry, a tiny lakeside community in central Arkansas. They have a wonderfully comfortable living room with an old rear-projection big screen and a penchant for sixties westerns and war movies. Grandaddy and Ma have been married for sixty years, and Ma can never remember which tea pitcher has been sweetened. It’s a trial and error snack.
I should preface this story with the knowledge that I used to sleepwalk as a child. And young adult. Also last night. Forget night terrors – I am a night terror, if you’re on the top bunk. That was something I failed to mention to Holly in my marriage vows.
Holly’s cousins spent the night. One brought a boyfriend. As I fell asleep on the couch, watchingMASH, apparently I offered to give cousin Carley a back massage. They woke me up to tell me it was not kosher.
Later on, when I was deeply asleep, Holly told her cousins to quiet down as she crept around my chair, planning to give me a Wet Willie. When she stuck her finger in my ear – I punched her in the face. My unconscious defense was a swift upper cut aimed straight at the irritant. As I sat up and rubbed my eyes, my wife held her forehead and shouted, “You’re a crazy person!”
Eventually I was carried to bed.
That night I had a dream where I was trapped on the outside of a skyscraper. Since I was born with an overgrown fear of heights, my natural reaction was swift horror as I tried to claw my way back through the glass windows. They were sealed shut. Eventually, Holly appeared and encouraged me to throw myself off the ledge.
I awoke the next morning to find the window sill ripped off the underlying stone and hanging at a forty-five degree angle. I gently nudged Holly and asked, “Did anything weird happen last night?”
“ARE YOU SERIOUS?” she replied. “When I woke up at 3:30 last night, you were pulling the curtains off that window! Then when I called out your name, you spun around and jumped on the bed like a cat man. I thought you were going to tear out my throat like a human tiger.”
I pondered this with great care before replying, “So you’d say I have the agility of a cat?”