On the end of an era:
I cannot remember having any bed other than this one. They brought it home to me in a metal frame, a matching glass-top table set off to the side. I broke the glass some time that year, which is about how long it took me to get used to being there, again, with them. This was 16, half a decade since we had last lived all together like this. This bed is too girly, I said. Then I kept it another 13 years.
The queen-sized, pillow-top was the nicest thing my parents ever bought for me, and I held onto it as a link back. I did, for four years, sleep on a twin-sized, college-issued plastic dorm mattress. Then I crashed on borrowed beds in other people's houses. Those were the years when I could never settle down. Every night for six months, I pulled a creaky queen out of a mid-century modern sofa. I slept on half a dozen futons. I tossed and turned half a year away on a bright blue rubber blow-up, issued free with my $200-a-month rent. I slept on the bed you bought with your first adult paycheck. I gave that up for a futon and my own paycheck, a $7.80-an-hour gig that I hoped would send me somewhere.
I thought I was still in my rambling years when I touched down this way. They sent the bed anyway -- frameless, but otherwise the same soft nest of youth. You'll save money, my mother said. You can buy a new bed when you settle. I propped it up on a king-size case. The jutting edges used to catch my shins when I walked past. Then I hung two shoes over, the soles softening the blow.
We stayed static here, rotating the foot for the head, the wall for the window, but always on the same hundred-year-old wooden floor. My body sank its spot in long ago. My hips dip into the same arc every night. Which is how I learned staying isn't the same as settling. Which is why I can give this bed up only now, six years in one spot, but only now catching hold of an anchor.