Don’t panic, but there is a small Thai boy under the bed.
You would panic wouldn’t you? Two young women in an isolated Thai beach hut. One of them wakes the other and says in a serious, soothing voice,
“Don’t panic, but a small Thai boy has broken into the room and is currently hiding under your bed.”
Those first two words are fruitless. Because, no matter how small the Thai boy is, if your friend is looking you square in the eye and telling you there is an intruder in the room in the middle of the still, dark night – you are going to PANIC.
And that is exactly what A did. She tucked her legs underneath her, pushed her back against the headboard and sat there stricken in the silence.
I was fairly unsettled too. The young boy had looked fairly menacing and scruffy as he scuttled across the floor and took refuge under A’s bed.
I replayed what I had seen in my mind, wondering how on earth he had managed to materialize through the closed door. Something about this memory jarred.
We sat in stunned silence for a few minutes more. If there was a small, Thai boy under the bed he didn’t sound like he was breathing. A and I barely were.
“There may be a chance,” I finally ventured after minutes of long, awkward, bated breath,” that I dreamt that bit about the boy.”
For whilst sitting there my senses and full mental facility had slowly returned to me. I’d emerged from the half-conscious state where I saw things and reiterated them to my travel companion and was awake now, fully aware that what I thought I had seen was not humanly possible.
I’d been a bit of a sleep talker and walker as a child. Mum told me stories of how I would emerge from my bedroom, wander pass her in the living room and attempt to extract water from the light switch. She’d gently guide me back to bed whilst I protested that “I had opened my curtains” and therefore deserved to stay up. She always knew during these moments that I wasn’t awake – despite speaking, walking and acting (albeit erratically). I can’t imagine how weird it must have been to have to interact with the moving, talking, sleeping me. In the mornings there would be a vague familiarity to the things she told me I did, but mostly I didn’t remember a thing.
Luckily I seemed to grow out of it. My night time ramblings never fully stopped but they got less coherent, so at least my family knew not to talk back.
Except when I went travelling.
Just like being in new situations and locations can bring on strange dreams for normal people, travelling bought out my night time antics with a vengeance. Poor A had to deal with the small Thai boy. A random boy in a dorm in New Zealand was told he ‘was magic’, repeatedly, by the girl in the bunk below him and once my sisters had to help me fight a pack of killer bees in a villa in Tuscany. (Well actually Dad had to go in and deal with them after I had roused my two younger sisters from bed, told them we were under attack, got us all out the room and closed the door behind us. Dad was called from bed and sent in to investigate. He bravely entered and upon finding nothing asked me to repeat what I saw. I explained that the bees came through the open window, that the sun was shining and that, o damn, it’s night time isn’t it? I may have been dreaming.)
There was also a stage during my backpacking days where I developed a habit of emitting a groan just before falling into deep sleep. This (almost sexual) noise would wake me up, and seriously disturb those around me, just as I was nodding off on buses, planes and boats. Not sure where the strange habit came from but thankfully it has ceased now. I think.
But I guess this is my open apology. To anyone who has ever shared a villa, dorm, bedroom, beach hut or mode of transport with me. For the small Thai boys, killer bees and magic tricks I thought I had seen. I have what you would call a vivid imagination!
Are you a sleep talker? Has it affected your travels?