A Parasomnia Episode by Emory S. ’21
Shh. Breathe quieter. That’s all I can think. --Beep beep beep.-- That’s the door.
Wait -- the dogs, why aren’t they barking?
I can hear the footsteps creaking on hardwoods outside of my door. They don’t know you’re in here, just stay quiet. My door stood there staring at me, yelling at me to do something, but I couldn’t. My breathing is speeding up and my heart is beating in my feet. Stop shaking. A sharp noise leaves the hall. What is that? Is that my parents?
Night terrors- Episodes of screaming and flailing while the dreamer is still asleep, often paired with sleepwalking that occur in the first 3 to 4 hours of sleep. Night terrors are considered a parasomnia, a type of disorder marked by abnormal occurrences during sleep. When a night terror begins, you'll appear to wake up, it is common to scream, cry, move around, or show other signs of fear. The episode can last for several minutes.
My mother: When she crawls into my bed at night just to hold my hand, kiss my forehead, and say she loves me. Her high pitched whistle floating down the hallway while she makes my favorite Cambodian soup. Her uncanny ability to make us all laugh because she is a storyteller. Her concerned voice when I come home at midnight and the dogs bark at me like I’m an intruder.
My father: When he was watching the Grammys and Camilla Cabello’s performance made him cry because it reminded him of me. When we got a call at 3 in the morning that my grandma had died. I had never seen him in such pain. His glossy eyes looked at me because he knew I could feel the same rock in my throat. Those are the only times I’ve seen him cry. The way he knows he is always the funniest person in the room. His height that intimidates every boy I bring home, and how much he loves that.
Ok Emory stop crying. I shove myself out of bed and drag myself to my bathroom. I sit behind the bathroom door, barricading it with my body weight. I need to call someone. Call Jaz and tell her to get everyone out. They still have a chance. But the phone is downstairs. There it is -- that sound; there’s more breathy screams in the hallway. It pierces my ears and more salty tears run down my face. What now? I’m alone.
My oldest sister: When she had her baby, and I held her in my arms for the first time and cried the happiest tears. When she calls me to go get ice cream from our favorite place, Normal ice cream. She knows I can’t say no to an offer like that. Her warm hugs, like my personal safety net, even though she’s only 5 feet tall. The only person in the world that calls me “Dizzle”-- my favorite nickname.
My other sister: When she moved to California for college and I sat in the car for hours dreading the goodbye. I didn’t want to say goodbye to my best friend. The way she sits on the deck working nonstop in the chair that creaks. And when I look out the big kitchen window she makes faces to tell me she knows I’m there. The pure joy I felt when she told me she might have a kid, and the fear that I won’t know him because I’ll be gone.
A little longer, breathe. One. Two. Three. I get up and push open the bathroom door. I walk through my dark cold bedroom and put my ear to the door. I heard something drop. It sounded like metal hitting the floor. --Beep beep beep.-- The door again. Does that mean they left? I hear footsteps. Kendall is that you? I yank the door open; It wasn’t him. I glance at the stained walls and catch my breath before collapsing to the floor. I look down at my nose leaking snot all over my shirt -- I don’t remember falling asleep in this. I run back into the bathroom and slam the door, leaving a trail of dark red footsteps behind me.
My older brother: His complete obsession with Spider-man that connects us to the world of superheroes. His anger issues. They come from pain and sadness, but that makes me cherish the good times even more. When my parents fought and his vulnerability let him lay with me and cry into the covers. His overwhelmingly kind personality and how he cares for us more than we know.
My oldest brother: When he became my cooking partner and my favorite person to be with. The way he makes random jokes that are oftentimes inappropriate. His addiction to documentaries that feeds his need to learn. That one photo of his floppy high school hair that makes us miss the past. When we shared a room in the Air Bnb and he jumped on my bed singing in my face. I had never loved him more.
I slid my back down the cold wooden door. I could feel the notches hit my spine. I hugged my knees and asked the world to fix it. The knees of my pajama pants were soaked in tears and saliva. They’re all gone, there’s nothing I can do. The door behind my back started shaking. Something was pounding at the door trying to get in. -- Maybe it was someone.
My best friend: When she cries with me in the gravel driveway late at night. When we lay on top of my car and use a constellation app to figure out where Orion is. The closeness between us that grew so quickly, and now every day I’m terrified of what my future will be like without her. When we blast songs that no one else knows. How we spend so much time together that I know her favorite songs word for word, whether I like it or not. The way she knows me better than anyone else ever has or ever will.
My niece: When her little hands wrap around my pointer finger as I rock her to sleep in the pillow of Jack Johnson’s voice. Her gutting cry after I try to lay her in the crib. She hates being
in there. The way her blue eyes look just like her mom’s, if her’s weren’t brown. Her striking red hair that comes straight from her dad’s gene pool. The nose that is the same as mine. When I cry at the thought of not seeing her grow up.
Why won’t the door stop shaking. Make it stop. Stop. I press my hands against my ears to quiet the noise. I rock myself back and forth. Please stop.
Emory. Let me in.
Stop. Leave me alone. My lungs ache as I plead and I pull my knees closer to my chest and stare at the steady stream of tears dripping onto the tile. The door pushed me over and I tried to crawl away. Who are you? What do you want?
Emory it’s ok. I’m here.