Sunday, August 10, 2008

Remaking the Bed

Before Marcie passed, I had been suffering in the bed. No in the way you might infer I intend to convey, but in regards to comfort. It was a strange thing to have a disagreement on.

It started two years before she passed, and it was a seriously bad item to discuss.

"The bed is tilted," I said. "I hate my side of it, I feel like I am going to roll off."

She huffed a little and looked over as she hospital-cornered the sheet and shook her head. "We can't buy another bed," she said. "It's not crooked, you're just crazy."

"I swear it's off a little," I said. "There's a serious slope on the bed. I feel like I am going to just roll off and I wake up all night worrying."

"Whatever, Frank," she said. "But for me, this is just your latest crazy obsession with something. If it isn't the television having a hum in it, which I don't hear, then it's the phone being hot or the water being metallic. My response is the same."

I looked at her and shook my head. She was just not interested.

"You're crazy, you're obsessive, and I love you, but please, don't drive me crazy with this, okay?" she asked, holding my hands in hers and pouting a little.

"K, fine," I said. "But why not change sides and you tell me?"

She glared. I had asked her to change sides on the bed and the universe had just gasped in horror.

"That is my side of the bed and I cannot sleep on yours, it doesn't have a window and it's by the door, which I totally hate," she said. "Now stop it."

Of course I mentioned it every couple of weeks when i would slip into bed. It remained that way until the week she took to a new bed in our living room, a hospital bed, whereupon I slept nearby on the couch.

For the last 9 months I have tried to sleep on our bed and have finally found that her side of the bed is flat and comfortable. The mystery of my still-sloping side remained that. Finally, today, the mystery was solved.

Perhaps I had been so fat the mattress flattened under me? No, I flipped it often. Perhaps it was the floor? No, I checked it with a level. Perhaps the underlying box spring was propped?

I have flipped the king-sized mattress a dozen times. This time, when I did, it became stuck on the light fixture. I looked and saw, wedged up on the base of the box-spring half of what was my Marcie's side, the headboard side of my own box spring, its base overlapping by a centimeter.

Only the top was wedged up, hidden against the wall and under the mattress and obscured by the foot, which was not wedged. The box spring eventually settled normally at the foot of the bed, the distance and weight allowing it to look well-seated, preserving the mystery all that time.

I took it all apart and found out the frame was bolted narrower at the head end. I fixed it and popped everything into place.

As I slept in it this week, I remembered asking her in those final weeks, before she was hospitalized and when she was just tired, whether she felt a slope. She had to use my side, as it was closer to the bathroom and easier for me to help her out of bed.

"Frank!" she growled through clenched teeth, fiery and beautiful and sick but stubborn. "There is no stupid slop on the stupid bed, so just drop it and move on! I asked you not to drive me crazy about this and for two years it has been your thing. Now knock it off!"

Thoroughly chastened, I kissed her on the cheek and nodded. I was happy. She had not been so animated in two weeks.

She called me back when I left. "Frank, I love you," she said. "I'm sorry I yelled. It does feel lumpy, but it doesn't feel crooked or anything, okay? I am sorry I called you crazy."

"Okay, sweetie," I said, hugging her."

And that was fine.

She said, "Okay, you can go now, I need to sleep. Good night."

I love that, even as the end approached, she felt it more important to stick to her guns than placate or indulge me overmuch. She had such a strong and stubborn spirit. But she was not remorseless in it. I know she realized I had been putting up with it a long time.

I think she was secretly pleased that I would when she found out, and that's fine, too. I would have put up with even more to lay next to her, this was just a little proof.