Being an American Football fan, Shannon often threatens to ‘late hit’ me, and is not averse to giving me the odd flick on the arm. So when I received a hefty kick in the shin just after two in the morning the other night it wasn’t too much of a surprise. She’d been fidgeting so much I thought she was awake. I lay still for a while waiting for a follow-through or a comment, but none came. In the morning I explained what had happened. “Oh God, I’m so sorry,” she said. “I was asleep.”
The following night I received another kick, slightly later, but this time it was her toenails that made contact first. They were sharp and painful. “I never did this before,” she explained over breakfast. “But you know I sleepwalk. You should wake me up if it’s bad.”
“The sleepwalking’s fine,” I said. “In fact, it’s quite comical. You usually yell at the dogs and kick them out of the house. It’s the sleep-beatings that are disturbing.”
She was twitching in her sleep again that night as I was half-awake at three o’clock. “Woo-hoo!” she yelled, then landed a hefty overarm punch on my torso. I lay awake and observed her sleeping form for a few minutes. Her eyes were shut fast, with a smile that would have made an angel look guilty. Only the occasional muscle spasm disturbed her serenity.
I explained the latest overnight activity to her in the morning. “Wow,” she said. “I actually dreamt I caught this long pass into the end zone that won the game. That must have been it.”
After we turned out the lights last night I eyed her cautiously. “You know, “ I said. “I’d feel a lot more comfortable if you didn’t have a hunting knife on your bedside table. Can you just imagine if you…?” I did a long overarm movement towards her, clutching an imaginary blade.
“Oh my God. You’re right.” She leaned over to the bedside table. The six-inch hunting knife glinted evilly in the moonlight as she handed over to me. I put it in the drawer of my bedside table. “I feel so much better that you’ve got it now,” she said.
I didn’t tell her that when I was younger I used to wake up some mornings and find my hand reaching for my alarm clock…