Sleepwalking

My bed was sweaty after all my tossing around. I left it to visit the bathroom. I crept down the hallway, past the plastic houseplants and neatly framed photographs until I came to my parents bedroom door. It was slightly ajar. My toes curled deep in the carpet as I tensed, listening to see if our mother was sleeping. Our father always snores. He snorks and growls his way through the night, announcing his slumber to the world at large, but our mother; our mother is far more subtle. She lays curled in on herself like a crescent moon, three quarters of her mind eclipsed by undifferentiated darkness, and one quarter still brightly aware. One quarter of her mind stays open all night waiting, silent, distant, and patient as the cold satellite that revolves around the earth. The white crescent of her body lays bright in the darkness of her bed and listens for noises in the dark. In the hallway I swayed my weight from left to right, producing an experimental squeak from the floorboards. I received nothing, save my father’s snores, for an answer.

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