By Spencer T,
Older sisters have a way of taunting their younger siblings. My sister was no exception to this rule. She was the first to announce to our mother when I didn’t complete my chores, wash behind my ears, or eat all my lima beans.
My opportunity for revenge did not have to come years later, but nightly when she went to bed. My sister suffered from sleepwalking. It is believed that this disorder affects about 1% to 15% of the population. On days that I was made to take out the garbage because she would rate on me for not feeding our pet hamster Harry, I was thankful that she fell into that percentage.
Once my sister was in a deep sleep I would begin to plot my vengeance. On one occasion I filled the bathtub and pulled my sister from her slumber convincing her that she must take a bath before bed. Without emotion or protest, she stepped into the tub with the endless sea of bubbles and began to lather her Care Bear pajamas. Dripping wet, she crawled back into bed none the wiser to what had just occurred. I fell back into the bed we shared laughing so fiercely that I feared my side would soon be wet from me soiling myself.
I should have been concerned about allowing her to sleep in this condition. She could have caught pneumonia, but the reward for getting even far outweighed my moral responsibility for doing the right thing at that moment. I rationalized in my head that it could be dangerous to wake a sleepwalker, and this would help me feel better about my transgressions.
I recall another incident in which my sister had tattled on me for breaking our mother’s favorite tea cup which was filled to the brim with my favorite beverage, red Kool-Aid. I was as careful as could be carrying it to the sofa. I couldn’t help that the pair of shoes that I am sure my sister left in the middle of the floor, not I, caught my left foot sending the teacup crashing to the floor and a waterfall of red liquid splashing onto mother’s white sofa. That taunting bought me three weeks of taking out the garbage and feeding all the family pets.
Being the faithful sister that I am, I could not let this punishment go without retribution. When deep sleep took hold of my sister’s body, I carefully placed her peace sign keychain in her hands. I began shaking her to firmly inform her that she was late for school. Without hesitation, she sat up and walked to the garage. I opened the door of her 2004 Honda Civic, because I do have manners, and she glided into the front seat. As she turned the ignition, again clothed in her Care Bear pajamas, I envisioned her pulling out of the driveway and into another helpless person’s life to torment. As she reached to put the car in gear, a wave of guilt washed over me. I could not let her leave. I took her by the palm of her hand and led her back into the house where we had shared so many now laughable memories.
It is believed that sleepwalking runs in families and that it is not associated with psychiatric or psychological problems. I tend to agree that it could be a family characteristic. I have spent my nights lying in bed and not roaming about, but I do feel like I spent a lot of my childhood asleep and not fully cognizant or aware of how wonderful my sister really is. As for sleepwalking not being associated with psychological disorders, well…my sister and I would disagree with that one. I’m pretty sure our crazy antics as kids might would question our mental capacities.