The Bed

Twenty-five years ago my grandmother was planning a visit to PEI for the first time. She’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, so was operating under “if not now, when?” rules.

My only significant failure as a human being, in my grandmother’s eyes, was that I didn’t have a bed.

After leaving my room at Champlain College at Trent University I slept on a series of (admittedly lumpy, uncomfortable) futons for a decade. In her eyes she hadn’t worked through the Depression for 25 cents an hour to send my father to university to raise a child who didn’t sleep on a proper bed.

If she was going to come and stay with us, in other words, a bed needed to be secured. She could sleep on it during her visit, and then it would become our bed.

I procrastinated.

At the last minute I called up the bed place in Cornwall and ordered up a Queen bed with a split box, the only bed that could be navigated up the tiny stairs of our small house in Kingston. The bed delivery truck arrived on the morning of the day that my grandmother’s flight arrived in the afternoon.

She was impressed. Her efforts had not been in vain. We had a delightful visit.

She returned home to find that she didn’t have pancreatic cancer at all and was, in fact, perfectly healthy.

The bed remained. Olivia was conceived on it. It moved to town with us. It was a good bed. Solid. Comfortable. It served us well. Eventually it became the guest bed, as we acquired a larger king-size bed for ourselves. And then it became Olivia’s bed.

It started to get lumpy. The frame collapsed underneath it (something Olivia forgot to tell me; she slept at a 10 degree angle for months without me knowing) and it got set in the floor.

Another two years passed.

You know, Olivia could really use a new bed,” L. told me a few weeks ago (her fresh eyes are proving helpful in so many ways!).

And so I ordered up a new bed, an exploding bed from Endy, the same model I bought last year that’s proved comfortable to all who’ve slept on it.

The new bed arrived. We set it up. Olivia has been sleeping well. Better.

What of the old bed? Too big for the Kia Soul. Removalists wanted $75 to cart it to the waste depot.

And then a friend with pickup truck appeared. I crunched the mattress and box springs down the stairs by myself, using gravity to good end. Loaded them up in the truck.

And off went the bed.

It’s been a week of much unburdening.