Furniture purchases don’t normally figure when it comes to what I write about. I never want to deal with the minutiae of life at all, let alone in print, because that’s what old people do. They can spend an hour telling you about how they made soup. “Okay, granny, I get it, split pea and lentil: move it along.” Fascinating. Really.
But when you are getting divorced, the mundane takes on extra significance. There are the obvious firsts: the first lover after your spouse is a complete wild card, especially if you were monogamous. How will they act, taste, smell? What sound will they make when they come? And how long before they do that weird tongue-clicking thing that ends up annoying you for a decade?
Then, there are the less dramatic changes. Right before my ex and I separated, I went to the store and bought us a bed. We had discussed it at length- I wanted a Tempurpedic-style mattress, and not just so my then husband could jump up and down and not disturb my glass of red wine (if I drank wine/who does that?) I thought it would be better for my back, he wanted to stay with a California King, but how much was that going to cost and blah blah blah, back and forth, can they throw in delivery, can you text me a picture? On and on, the negotiation, until you want to blow your fucking brains out.
But isn’t that in some ways what marriage is about? A discussion about mattresses that is really about something else. (I don’t think you need a spoiler alert to note that the bed didn’t take.)
So here I was some two years and three months later returning to the same bed store (what can I say, the service was terrific!) and buying myself a bed. Long ago I ceded the master bedroom to my ex, and then slept in the guest room for a year, before seven months ago making a mother-in-law’s quarters in the garage because… well that’s another story.
Since that time I have been sleeping on a (hand-made but still) futon mattress. On. The. Floor. Like a teenage boy. I decided on this option because it was cheaper than a whole new mattress and box spring; and somehow I forgot that bed stores deliver. I thought because there was no dude to help me, I would be able to roll this mattress up myself, pop it in the Prius, and schlepp it up to my new quarters. Between the jar opener in the kitchen and the “personal massagers” I reasoned I would never need a man again.
But as of late my bed had become psychologically damaging. A forty-year old woman should not be sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Or at least this one didn’t want to anymore. And in the cold months (I know it’s California cold, not real cold but nevertheless) it always seemed like the heat was wafting somewhere above my head, which hovered about four inches from the floor. “I’m moving,” I kept telling myself “It’s temporary.” Except I haven’t, and though I am trying, it has proven massively difficult so far. And all we really have is NOW and TODAY and so the bed had just come to symbolize my lack of care for myself. I had the money, I was just in too much fear about spending it because I’m moving and for once in my life I was trying to be sensible.
As the sales person at the bed store said, “You need a big girl bed.” (Which is not nearly as creepy as it sounds.)
A few days ago I bought myself a Queen-size mattress and base. With a pillow top. It is exactly what I wanted. And there was no consultation with anyone necessary. It’s a tiny room and I’m tall, but I knew it would be perfect. Today a couple of strapping dudes delivered it, which sounds like the start of a Penthouse Forum letter but ends with me obsessing about whether you’re supposed to tip people who deliver you heavy goods, and if so how much?
I underestimated the positive impact this beautiful thing has had on my psyche. Because now I have chosen every single thing in that little bedroom, including who gets to sleep there with me, and that would be NO-ONE. And though tonight it may once again prove difficult to manage the thoughts that run through my mind as I put my head on the pillow, I will pray to observe rather than disappear into them. And when I wake up, I will for the first time ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO SEE THE OCEAN, as the other bed stopped way below the windowsill. Lucky, grateful, less suicidal me!
But if I have trouble sleeping, maybe I will bring the jar opener up from the kitchen, and lay it on the pillow next to mine. It will be quiet, still and sleek, and won’t snore, and though a little cold, I’m sure it won’t mind if I cuddle it all night long.