Sleepwalking in the dead of winter.

Sometimes Henry went sleepwalking in the dead of winter.

It started when he was seven when Angela would find him halfway down the hall, slumped over the stairwell and wobbling over the banister, half caught fish, half baby bird on his first attempt at flight. She would shake Henry’s shoulders until he opened his glassy eyes and woke alarmed and disoriented. Angela would fold her son into her fleshy arms, burying his head in her armpit, rubbing his back and demanding her son to explain where he was going. Over and over her fingers traced over his lumpy spine and she breathed, “Where are you going? What are you running away from?” Henry’s head would rest firmly on his fat neck, his chubby fingers wiping at the crust on his lashes. He thought his mother had stolen him from his slumber, and he would grow confused and cold, like a child pulled from his mother’s womb. Enrobed in Angela’s arms, he would cry, and Angela would breathe harder, pressing her fat son against her until his throaty sobs were muffled in her red terrycloth rob. She would lead him to the kitchen and feed him chocolate ice cream, and Henry would inhale the scent of cocoa eagerly as it melted slowly on his spoon.

Now he would sleepwalk out of habit, strolling around his room at odd hours in the night, waking pressed up against a chair, or even worse, leaning on a bookshelf that had broken over the course of his stay throughout the night. His cheeks would be lined with wood grain, his forehead bare the solitary knot from his great oak desk, the thinking man’s mark of Kane.

It didn’t happen every night, just those when he felt particularly sad, or hungry. They were one in the same, hunger and sadness. Both registered in Henry’s stomach as a painful emptiness that he was unable to fill. He was prone to over eating, though if his eyes really were bigger than his stomach he would surely be mistaken as an emaciated mosquito. Yet, for such a fat man, one would assume Henry based his days and nights on eating tubs of butter. Henry, like most Americans, liked eating, enjoyed the texture of the food, the way the tastes bloomed in his mouth when he chewed and the feeling of a savory meat under his teeth.


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