My Parents' Bed
Isn’t it amazing how certain things in life can stay constant while everything else around it changes? Consider a house. Or a bed. Months and years pass and these things stay in the same exact place, on the same street, or tucked into the corner of the master bedroom.
Since I’ve moved back home from college, I’ve been bunking in my dad’s room. Why I haven’t set up my childhood room to adapt to newly-college-graduate me I don’t know. But I laid in that bed the other night, staring out the window from what used to be my parents’ bedroom and remembered how much had happened with that bed.
My dad has gotten up for work around 2:30-3:30 am, Monday thru Friday, for the last eighteen or so years. My childhood room was right above the garage, so when he would leave, I would wake up at the sound of it. From about 1st grade to 6th grade I would climb out of bed, shuffle downstairs, and climb into the now half-empty bed of my parents. My momma was always mindful that I was there, and would attempt to keep her morning routine from waking me all too early. Until she began to blow-dry her hair and had to fling open the bathroom doors because it was too hot to leave them closed.
I remember taking naps in this bed on Sundays. My brother and I were once small enough to fit in the bed with my parents, arranged like batteries in remote in order to accommodate our heads and feet. My mom would put on a Josh Groban CD and, as ‘Alejate’ faded out, we faded into sleep.
I remember staying home sick with strep throat, shivering violently in the covers of that bed, thinking that I would never get warm. I remember calling my mom that same day because my joints were stiff and I wanted to know if a ten-year-old could get arthritis.
I remember waking up frantically one Sunday morning, thinking we were late for church. I hastily put on clothes and ran into my parents’ room, where I found them and my brother talking on their bed. They laughed. It was Saturday.
I remember singing my mother to sleep as she lay in that bed exhausted from chemotherapy. I remember laying my heavily sedated brother in that bed after his wisdom teeth were taken out. I remember waking up in that after my own wisdom teeth were taken out. I remember my dad accidentally punching me in the face because I startled him awake while he was in that bed.
I remember sharing that bed with my brother and my father the day my mom died.
And as I lay there the other night, I realized that my hands touched the top of the mattress and my toes tickled the other end—in the same bed where I was once small enough to fit between the lines.