April awoke to the hemming and hawing of an electric tooth brush whose battery was running low. The sound reminded her of the spinning top her daddy had given her for her third birthday, a top with airplanes which took off and landed as it jiggled along the pitted linoleum floor of their double wide. It had been her favorite toy until its spring snapped, its hand pump locked, and the airplanes froze in place like butterflies pinned to cardboard. Nothing lasts forever, her daddy said when he couldn’t fix it. To a three year old, everything lasted forever, especially daddies. Stretching, April knocked her book off the night table, Marilynn Robinson’s Housekeeping which she selected to read on her honeymoon because the cover art of gingham curtains flapping in an open window lured her into the darkness that lay within. The hemming and hawing stopped.
“You did it, again.” Stan Hiller, her husband of less than twenty-four hours, shouted from the bathroom.
Again. April had moved in with Stan the February before their wedding. After waking three consecutive mornings to an open window, bitter cold, snow dunes on the bedroom floor, curlicues of frost on the mirror over the dresser, he designed an experiment to test the hypothesis that April opened the window in her sleep. With the cloth belt of her bathrobe, he tied her wrists to the headboard of the bed. On the window frame he nailed a ribbon of bells which would ring if the window were raised. He set up a video camera with an eight hour recording capacity. April joked she felt like a victim in a slasher movie, but the next morning they awoke to an open window, April still tethered to the bed. If the bells had rung, neither had heard them. For four hours the video camera recorded a closed window, then thirty seconds of static and four hours of an open window. Maybe you’re the somnambulist, April said as Stan untied her.