I worry that she’ll hurt herself wandering aimlessly through the dark shadowy house. I fear she may walk out into the night and never come back, lost forever in her gloomy trance. She could wander the dark streets for eternity, like a lost vampire.
I’m afraid to speak to her. I’m afraid that she’ll mistake me for the “man”; the one who wants to steal her children. The one she seems destined to evade.
Would the beautiful essence ever harm me?
Her voice is an echo from a deep cave. Her eyes are jade marbles in a pale face. Her words -- a meaningless jumble in the night.
Sometimes I’m so afraid.
I wish the woman didn’t look so much like me.
Maybe tomorrow I will speak to her.
Tomorrow, or the next warm summer night, I’ll dredge up the courage to walk quickly over to the essence of the woman, take hold of her smooth white pointing arm, look deeply into those rich green glazed eyes and speak to her.
If I speak quickly and calmly . . . it should work.
I’ll simply say, “please wake up, Mom, you’re sleepwalking again and it scares me.”
No, I shouldn’t. Dad says it’s dangerous to wake a sleepwalker.
Do you think he knows?
Do you think he’s seen her?
Note from the author: Although The Essence is a work of fiction it is based on an actual summer night experience of mine. Probably around my eleventh or twelfth year – once again the outcast sister because of my over active imagination, and my love for all things horrible and horrifying – the only one of us willing to stay up late and watch the newest movie on “Chiller Theater.” You remember it, don’t you? Its logo sported a hand with 6 fingers waving up out of a cemetery plot -- usually aired black and white horror features after the late night news on Saturdays during the early sixties.
At this point in my life, I’d already become an avid reader and enjoyed first name casualness with our small town librarians. I also dwelled in my “Nancy Drew” phase, which meant that everything happening in my life became somehow mysterious . . .
Through out my childhood our mother walked and talked in her sleep. She is an avid somnambulist (sleepwalker). A sleepwalker meant new mystery for me and my mother became the subject.
Any stranger stumbling into her in this state would not know she was (gasp) the walking sleeper – a live zombie – if there is such a thing. It amazed me how she had such an active nightlife and never remembered any of it the next day. I’d quizzed her many times. To try and wake her during a sleeping episode meant far worse as we‘d suffer her sharp tongued (if somewhat garbled and senseless) wrath right then and there. Either way all would be forgotten the next morning and this simply became a spooky way of life for my family.
I hope you enjoyed The Essence.
The Essence is © 1994
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