One day that same summer, my mom suggested to my father that he should buy a set of swings for the family. The next day, Glen returned from town with an assembled swing set in the back of his pickup. I watched impatiently as he put it in place in the yard, but didn't get to play on it because it was already my bedtime.

Uninterrupted sleep continued to be a rare commodity for me, and this night was no exception. I awoke to see the swing set sparkling in the moonlight. It was like a friend bidding me to come outside and play. I slowly arose from my bed and tiptoed to the front door. I opened it ever so carefully and slipped out to my new playground. The cool dew felt good to my bare feet. I sat in the cool metal seat and grasped the chains that flowed on each side of me. As I began to swing, I experienced a rare unity of body, mind, and senses. I was hardly aware of the rhythmic squeaking of the chains grinding against the fasteners that secured them.

"What are you doing?" my mother's voice asked from behind me.

My eyes darted open. I was startled to find the whole family staring at me.

"Yeah, Dutchman. The noise woke everybody up," said Luke.

"He must be sleepwalking again," Glen added.

I felt helpless. My weak expressive language hindered me from being able to explain. Mom took my hand to lead me back inside.

"I sure hope he don't sleepwalk again," Luke complained as he crawled back into bed.

Besides restlessness, there were other reasons for my insomnia. My eyes were sensitive to light, even moonlight. I adapted by covering my eyes with an extra pillow. Later, I used a darkly colored towel instead. Each night, I folded the towel just so, to make the ritual complete, and placed it over my eyes. Only then could I fall asleep.

My mom had sewn patchwork quilts for the family at a local church. In winter, the weight of my heavy quilts provided a comforting pressure that I found quite soothing. This pressure assured me that my body was intact, a concept I had difficulty accepting otherwise due to the full-body numbness. In the summer, without the weight of the covers, sleep frequently eluded me. It would be years before I would understand my body's peculiar needs.

Other Memories

  • Rules
  • 1st Day Of School
  • Sensory Overload
  • Lawn
  • Reading Time
  • 6th Grade
  • Middle School
  • County Fair
  • Art Class
  • Band
  • Music Class
  • Chemistry Class
  • First Date
  • Social Studies
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