Love, take it to the mattresses.

There’s a subtle shift that occurs after two people realize they’re standing in the moment of finality. It’s as if the world whispers, “Don’t blink or you’ll lose the last moment where you know who is standing in front of you.” The moment of truth, arrived, and this is what it’s like to not know each other anymore.

She slept on mattress on the floor—the same mattress I had purchased after the heartbreak before her—when I passed by the hallway packing the last of my things. I thought, “She has a place to rest her head even if she sleeps near the ground for now, but she’ll get a frame to lift it back up.” It was that same line of thinking I had after the initial shock of the I’m-going-to-leave-my-marriage realization; I’m doing the right thing for both of us in the long run even if the short run scorches our feet.

I’m sleeping on an air mattress tonight in my renovated shoebox in Alphabet City. It’s been quite some time—5 months to be exact—since I’ve been comfortable in my own space. Despite the obvious disarray from the move, I’m free to be free. Although, if I’m truly being honest, here, that uncomforted space issue started one year and five months ago. While I’m being honest, let’s face it, freedom is never free.

Shopping for mattresses is a lot like soul work; you have to know yourself well enough to know what you like, how much you’re willing to invest in your comfort, and not rush it. I was upsold on the first overpriced mattress, a firm with a pillow top, like many other things during that period in my life. Later, I was also talked into tossing it for a terribly old, piss stained, non-pillow top mattress, by a girlfriend attached to most everything except me. After she hurt me in the most despicable way possible, I was sans mattress, not that one fit into my inherited vagabond lifestyle in the first place; couch surfing required less capital and emotional investment.

Futons, the minimalist way of resting your head, was the way to Zen. Mattresses were heavy and laborious constructs of luxury that I didn’t need. No, out with the old and in with the new. I acquired a different, vibrant, soul enriching, school of thought, and the only way to happiness was through the suffering–and, let me just say this about suffering; there were some painstakingly difficult nights of sleep where my back was concerned. Futon people don’t have significant romantic relationships. They just can’t, really, because a futon person is in a transitory state of living that no one wants to catch.

With the first indication of love interest, I tossed that sucker and bought a new mattress, firm, for her back problems. Solving her problems, giving her comfort, and making certain she never woke up in pain, was how I spent the next four-or-so years. Sleeping on that firm mattress, built to sustain the strength of the spine, it occurred to me that this firm mattress was not mine. I purchased it, yes, but this was not where I was supposed to rest my head.

I left her the firm mattress, which was now on the floor with her. I had my freedom, so I marched into Macy’s listening to the divorce theme song “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + the Machine and I plopped down on that plush Euro bed mattress.

“Can I help you?”

I smiled, big. “Yes, I’m in the market for a new mattress.”

“Feel like testing out the others?”

I closed my eyes, briefly, and despite being internally sold on the one I was on I shook my head yes.

She led me to different makes and styles of mattresses, and I obliged because I had never taken my time before, until we made a full round and stood in front of the first choice; the queen plush Euro bed. “Do you know the comfort level you want?” She asked.

“I do,” I replied. “I want to sleep in a cloud.”

“So this one seems like the perfect fit.” She pointed.

“Yes.”

We made small talk as I spent an extravagant amount of money on my mattress–MY mattress.

“What’s the reason for the purchase today?” She looked up from entering my credit card information.

“I was married for four years and the trade-off was the firm mattress.” I paused and felt a tremendous amount of fulfillment. “Now that I’m teetering on the brink of divorce, I want to rest my head in the clouds.”

The cloud-like mattress arrives on Thursday, so for now I’m making do with the air mattress. I’d rather be like one with air than two on an old piss stained non-pillowtop, firm, break-my-back-for-love type of mattress. So, while we may be strangers and prefer different mattresses, I know one thing to be true about myself–I prefer plush.

 

Monkey Minds were not harmed in this blog post.

My therapist tries so hard to get me to admit that something…anything, really…hurts. I, of course, opt for closed-off buzz words like ‘annoyed’ and ‘disappointed.’ Those words that seem to ring with strength over weakness. She prods for my recognition of hurt as a feeling week-after-week, as I squirm in the uncomfortable lobby-like chair. Humanity’s friend, avoidance, kicks in but instead riddles me with trivial obsessive thoughts which is what brought me there in the first place. There, the sterile room with the only identifying element being the faux Van Gogh’s hanging on the wall. Her chair, the one I sit in, is uncomfortable and entirely impersonal…am I like her chair?

This monkey mind of mine has stuck around much longer than usual, and my true self stands outside the atrium knocking on the glass. I see you, I do, but I’m busy swinging from branch-to-branch. After all, it’s much more fun to climb trees than to fall to the ground.

The two women that know me best – my mom and wife – tell me frequently that I put more energy into those that don’t deserve it versus those that do. I wish I could say this wasn’t true, but it is and I know it. I suppose there are those times in life when you know exactly who you are, and insight and intuition are shining lights. Then there are times when you have to really work to see any light, and that’s when you change the batteries in the flashlight. It is then when words like ‘hurt’ lurk like a monster in the dark. I’ve never been scared of the dark, but after standing too close to monsters I do search for that flashlight.

It’s like REM sings, “Everybody Hurts Sometimes” and if I think about it…’hurt’ does sound more impactful, doesn’t it?

Cross Post #5

Practicing Life: A Contemplation on Anxiety and Appreciation

Life is practice. Even with all the travel we take on and complete, there is no true destination. Everything we want to get better, to heal, we need to constantly work at. And sometimes, we’ll feel as if we’ve slipped backwards for no particular reason, just because that’s life. But there’s always some purpose, hidden as it may be, and we’re always moving forward. (Read More)

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