Cigarette Butts

Cigarette Butts

Words by Camille Dodd

Photos by Jonathan Godinho

 
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“We gotta get this guy outta here.”

 
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“What the fuck is that?!”

 
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“You turned on the stove!”

 
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“There’s a guy standing outside the window.”

 

I see people when I sleep. Not dead people -- at least, I don’t think they’re dead.  Sleepwalking runs in the family. My father first, and my three sisters followed. As I’ve grown, the frequency has died down, but in times of particular anxiousness it creeps in again, pulling me back into it’s grasp. The people come back. The man in my bedroom or outside my window comes back.

 

I’ve attempted to understand the reasoning or logic behind my subconscious.

 

Maybe it has something to do with the pile of cigarette buds my dad once found outside our childhood bedroom window one morning -- they weren’t his. Maybe it has nothing to do with that at all.

 

For many years, my husband Jonathan -- and my friend Carissa before him and my roommate before that -- would wake up in fear as I crept around the room, pointing to men who weren’t there. One behind the mirror. Another out the window. One standing at the stove.

 

One time I turned on the burner on the stove. 

 

Of course, each of these stories unfolds secondhand, stolen from the witnesses of my subconscious wandering. Recalling your sleepwalking is like remembering a dream -- sometimes it comes to you in bits and pieces. Most of the time it doesn’t. It’s like waking up after a night of heavy drinking -- where you try to piece together the small fragments of your weirdest embarrassments.

 

For those on the conscious side of the night’s wandering, the sleepwalking progresses from terrifying to annoying to funny -- in that order.

 

You just have to wait it out for the funny part.

 

 

 

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