Bear with me, this post is an exercise suggested by my regular therapist (hi, John!) and by an intuitive counselor. “Be more expressive! Write more! And share what you express!” And, when I lamented, “What does it mean that there is no comfortable place to sleep in my house?!” I was advised to write how this came to be as a 3rd person narrative with changed names.
She heard the thump of determined footsteps upstairs, but that was not unusual. Then she heard,
Bang! Creak! Crack!
Climbing the stairs she noticed the futon mattress folded and dragged to the landing. As she turned and climbed the last four steps she saw the futon frame coming apart. The young man dismantled it with a hammer and a crow bar.
“That futon and frame cost $800!” came her first thought. She would never spend that much money on furniture for herself. She slept on her great grandmother’s bed with a 15 year old mattress and box spring.
“You don’t like your bed anymore?” she asked, trying to seem nonchalant.
“No. Not comfortable. You know it started to break apart, right?”
During an episode of his severe depression she had asked him,
“What can I do to help you get better?”
“I would be happy if I had a nice room. And a MacBook Pro.”
So she had painted, hired carpenters to install a hardwood floor, and bought him new furniture. Over two years had passed, and things were starting to fall apart. And the nice room had never made him happy.
“I would have had it repaired…”
“No, I don’t like it anymore.” he interrupted.
Her familiar thought process started, automatically.
“It’s just money, it doesn’t matter, I’ll earn more money.”
She asked, “What will you sleep on?”
He pointed to a mattress leaning against the wall, and she also saw the feather duvet in a bunch next to it.
“The mattress from the guest room. And the feather thingy-more comfortable than the futon.”
“But what if someone needs to stay over?”
“Nobody ever stays over night.”
True, it had been months since anyone slept in the guest room.
And the thoughts started churning again in her mind.
“A new mattress and bedding will be a few hundred dollars, maybe next paycheck, or maybe the paycheck after that.”
“Help me take these pieces down stairs. We need to borrow the old woman’s truck to take them to the dump.”
He started pushing the futon down the stairs.
“We’re keeping that!” she said.
“Fine.” he said. “But I won’t sleep on it.”
A few weeks later, he decided to move in with a relative in Boston. He took the guest room mattress with him. She still had not purchased a new one for the guest room. And she had discovered too late that the young man had found the feather duvet too warm and had let the dog sleep on it. And puke on it.
Soon after moving to his relative’s, he decided he wanted to come back. After arriving at the house from the bus station, the woman and the young man went up the stairs.
“You can sleep on the old futon in your room. Or the couch.” the woman told the young man. They were outside her bedroom, she wanted to change clothes and he needed the bathroom.
“Can I just take a nap on your bed? Let’s get Thai take out and watch Star Trek!” He jumped on her bed.
The side rail of her great grandmother’s bed had split in two. The box spring also broke.
“Now nobody has a comfortable place to sleep. And I won’t be able to afford a new bed for myself for years.”
After a few days I will reflect on the post and these questions: “What is the feeling tone of this story?How do you think this woman feels? What advice would you give her? What do you think she could do now? ”
Does anyone else want to try this?