Ramon during a sleepwalking episode.

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Published on Narratively, March 30, 2016.


My partner, Ramon, sleepwalks.


He’s wandered barefoot through the halls of my college apartment building, stood in the shower on the verge of “getting ready,” and eerily swayed at the edge of our bed in the dark. 


While his condition makes for a good story to laugh about with each other and with our friends, I quickly realized his sleepwalking is just as frightening as it is entertaining. And it's an experience I essentially deal with alone because in the morning Ramon can't remember wandering away. Usually when I realize he’s missing from my side in the middle of the night, I get up to guide him back to bed -- sometimes resentfully. And though I have my troubleshooting routine down after our six years of being together, I still worry.


What if I don't catch him in time and he trips down the stairs? When I leave town, he tells me about waking up on the living room floor and I imagine the worst possible scenarios and worry for the rest of my trip. 


We don’t know if we should be handling his sleepwalking differently than we already are but I do have this satisfaction: even in his sleep, Ramon always says “I love you” back.


Ramon is often caught in the space between dream world and waking life. This ongoing project creeps into that space, what surrounds it, and how we’re dealing with it together. (2014 - present)

Ramon poses for a portrait outside our apartment in Southeast Seattle, Washington.

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Ramon sleepwalking in our kitchen apartment in Seattle, WA. Once I learned to anticipate his sleepwalking, I kept my camera ready to show Ramon what he was up to. (November 2014)

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Ramon sleepwalks while “cutting vegetables” in the kitchen. He spotted our chef‘s knife out on the counter so I put it away before picking up my camera. (November 2014)

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Ramon gets ready for work. He never remembers what happens while he sleep walks, so I recount my experience -- often while he's brushing his teeth and getting dressed. Seattle, WA.
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Ramon sleeps on our air mattress after sleepwalking and pulling his pajamas down. This episode occurred shortly after we moved into our first Seattle apartment.
Ramon on our air mattress after sleepwalking and pulling his pajamas down. This episode occurred shortly after we moved into our first Seattle apartment, when we barely had any furniture to our names.
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Ramon waits for me in his truck while I make his portrait.
Ramon waits for me in his truck while I make his portrait.
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Fall leaves on the sidewalk outside our apartment, photographed during a walk we took together to the bus stop. (October 2014)

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Ramon sleeps in the car during an early morning trip to Washington's West Coast. He didn’t sleepwalk during this trip but I feared he might. His sleepwalking usually occurs when he disrupts his regular sleeping routine. (January 2015)

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Ramon tries to take the wheel while napping in a Safeway parking lot in Vancouver, BC. We drove up to Canada early to beat border traffic and chose to rest before exploring the city. When we still lived in New Jersey, Ramon would rest in the driver's seat for a  few minutes after the long commute from Edison or New Brunswick to his parent's house. He'd jolt awake, thinking he fell asleep while driving. (January 2015.)

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The view from our tent at Camp 4 in Yosemite National Park, CA. We sleep soundly when we're in a tent under the stars and in the woods. Ramon usually wakes up before dawn to photograph early morning creatures and sights. (June 2014)

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Sleepwalking at our friend’s apartment in Montclair, NJ. September 2016

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Ramon poses for a portrait at our bouldering gym in San Luis Obispo (SLO), CA. SLO-Op is a 24-hour access climbing gym a few minutes away from where our apartment used to be. We would climb whenever we had the chance and often that was as soon as when we woke up or right before we went to bed. Before I made it to SLO, Ramon would project at the gym alone.

 (July 2014)

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The view from our tent at Camp 4 in Yosemite National Park, CA.

 (June 2014)

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Ramon sleepwalks with a sleeping bag over his head in Birmingham, AL. Even after a month-long road trip with us, this was the first time our close friend Natalie witnessed Ramon’s sleepwalking. She tried to ease him to sleep after he snapped at her (“NO, Natalie!”), she woke me up to help. (August 2013)

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Ramon poses with sleepy eyes in morning light at our University District apartment in Seattle, WA. (August 2014)

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A portrait on Coral Street in San Luis Obispo, CA.

 (July 2014)

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Ramon naps during a family party at his aunt’s home in Cranford, NJ. (July 2014)

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Ramon on a cliffside in Montaña de Oro State Park in California. I love this photograph because of its dream-like quality. I like to think places like this is where Ramon wanders in his sleep.
Ramon on a cliffside in Montaña de Oro State Park in California. I like to think places like this is where Ramon wanders in his sleep.
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