Sleep is meant to be a tranquil activity. There may be tossing and turning and, in the case of my wife, an occasional flailing arm that lands directly atop me, but for the most part sleeping people are meant to lie still for several hours of undisturbed silence.
I have always liked this part about sleep. Life can be difficult, but at the end of the day I can always count on sleep to be there for me, cradling me in its soft embrace for hours of quiet, peaceful unconscious bliss.
Thoughts like this are why waking up with a mysterious bruise across my palm is very disconcerting.
In my life, I cannot think of a single time I have ever bruised the palm of my hand while awake. I have hurt my hand in many ways, from cutting my finger on a potato peeler to breaking a finger while playing flag football in high school. I have burnt my hand, scratched it, scraped it. I have even bruised the top of my hand. Never, though, have I ever bruised my palm.
As I got ready for work today, I could not help but look at my hand. In the midst of sleep, something with a great deal of force had struck my palm, somehow not awoken me, and left this mark of its visit. I began to have Sherlockesque visions of what could have cause this.
My first instinct was to blame my wife. I am not sure why. I should probably ask a therapist about that sometime. For a moment, I wondered if she had somehow accidentally punched my palm in her sleep. Or worse, what if it wasn’t an accident? Perhaps she had waited in bed until I fell asleep, then for some bizarre spiteful reason she had wound up and punched the palm of my hand.
What had I done to make her that mad? Maybe she has an irrational hatred of palms. Even if this were the case, I reasoned, it could not be her. While my wife may be many things, she certainly does not have the upper body strength to bruise the palm of my hand with a single punch. Plus, she bruises very easily so I am pretty sure she would have a bruised fist to match my palm.
Maybe this was the result of some exciting dreams. While some people sleepwalk or sleep eat, maybe I get up and sleep high-five. I could have been sleep running through our apartment complex sleep high-fiving everyone from the skateboarding youths that should not be up that late on a school night to the gentleman who likes to sit on a bench in the middle of the night and call someone while on speakerphone. I probably would have thrown some sleep fist pumps in there for good measure.
This too was out, though. On my way to my car, I ran across one of those skateboarding youths. He did not give me a weird “you were running about high-fiving everyone” look, but the same old “old men like you just do not get my generation” look. Then, I imagine, he went to go do something very rebellious.
For a brief second, I entertained the idea that perhaps I had sung “If You’re Happy and You Know It” while asleep and, due to my love of sleeping, had been way too happy. While clapping, I had ended up bruising my hand expressing this joy. This, however, was ludicrous. I would never sing while I sleep, but if I did, I am fairly certain it would be something awesome like Pink Floyd or The Clash. Definitely not a children’s song.
I may never know how this mysterious bruise appeared. I may need to start wearing protective hand gear to bed in case whatever cause this was to appear again. I just hope that the serenity of sleep has not been ruined for me forever.
Who am I kidding? You can’t ruin sleep.