It was the Christmas when I was 15. I usually shared a bedroom with my sister, but she was staying with relatives, so I had my bedroom to myself. I went to bed last, and lay awake reading, my bedroom door closed. Lying there, I heard my brother walk from his room to the bathroom.
Then he walked from his room to the bathroom again -- only without first returning to his bedroom. After that he went up and down the stairs several times – sometimes without bothering to come back up before going down again. Sometimes he started down the stairs without having walked across the landing to get there.
It went on and on. A couple of times I called out, asking what was going on but no one ever answered me.
In the early hours, I heard my baby brother start to cry. My parents woke. I heard my mother say something about baby-powder. It was downstairs, she said. My Dad said he would go and fetch it.
I heard Dad get out of bed, walk across the bedroom and out of the door, across the landing and part way down the stairs. Then Mum called, "It's all right. It's up here." Dad turned and climbed back up the stairs and into the bedroom.
Soon after that, I turned off my light and went to sleep.
The next morning, it being Christmas, everyone slept in and my mother and I were the first up.
I asked her what on earth had been going on the night before. She didn't know what I was talking about.
"All the tramping up and down and walking about the house," I said.
She hadn't heard anything.
I gave her an account of it, ending with how I'd heard Dad go half-way downstairs to fetch the baby-powder.
"He never got out of bed," she said.
I couldn’t believe her. She insisted that when the baby had cried, she had asked my Dad to fetch the powder, and he’d started to get out of bed – but then she’d found the powder, and Dad had lain down again. He’d never left his bed, let alone walked out of his room, along the landing and down the stairs.