The Middle of the Bed

Dearest Rachel –

At home, there’s always something that prevents me from taking up the entirety of the bed. It’s partially a physical question of real estate, where some of your stuff has been lying there. Indeed, I’ve been keeping a couple of your Bible study books there as a reference to flip through and find something to send out every Sunday. After all, this is supposed to be your story – I need to let your words be seen and heard whenever I can.

But there’s also a psychological aspect to my reluctance to occupy the entire bed. It just doesn’t seem right. Whether in terms of seeming just a little selfish, or the simple fact that a single body just can’t occupy the entire space of a queen bed, there isn’t any justification to do so, so why insist on it?

And then there’s the fact that, like with the closet or the dresser, it would be just one more acknowledgment that, not only are you gone, but there will be no one to take your place. Well, that’s not quite how I want to word that: no one could take your place, of course. But… I would hope that someday, somehow, someone would be able to fill at least in part, those vast empty spaces you left behind. And as I’ve said before, filling those spaces with myself is, to me, a form of surrender. a giving up on that level of happiness ever again.

Although, to be sure, that would be an appropriate bookending to our relationship, I suppose. We started as ‘we,’ after all, with my arriving at the conclusion that I had completed my college years, and not found myself a life partner from that one place where that was most likely to happen (Not that I had been making any effort to obtain the male equivalent of what was derisively referred to as an “MRS degree” – is that still a thing these days in university? – but still, one can’t deny the opportunity that college affords for creating all manner of relationships, particularly that one). Indeed, when I was making plans to set up a YouTube channel of my own, I had planned on making an episode about how the easiest way for a guy to attract a potential mate starts by giving up hope of actually finding one, coming to terms with your singleness (your ‘singularity,’ perhaps?) and just focus on making friends and hanging out together. It makes you ‘safe’ in girls’ eye, and they are somehow drawn to it.

The thing is, now that I’m back to having to practice what I had intended to preach, it’s a lot harder than it sounds. I know I’m in too much of a hurry to get back to everything in life that I – we – used to do (and of course, the whole pandemic lockdown thing did not help any of this), and I can’t bring myself to do any of it alone. I feel like I have to find someone before I can do anything. All of which, I’m sure, gives off that whiff of desperation that is exactly the opposite of what I was going to recommend to others, rendering me that much less appealing to a potential target (and yes, I use that word ‘target’ deliberately, to illustrate what this hypothetical ‘she,’ whoever she is, thinks you think of her. Believe me, I get why this is frightening and off-putting for her. But for whatever reason, I can’t seem to stop myself).

I’ve wandered away from the topic, though.

The thing is, here at Kevin’s, I actually don’t sense that need to leave half the bed available for you out of deference, respect, or the chance someone might fill that space. For one, that last possibility is an utter absurdity. We’re only here for a week, after all, and if we intend to leave the house for any reason, we will be doing so together. I’m not about to be picking up local girls to bring back here (as if I could – if you were drinking anything while reading those last few sentences, I’m sure you would have either choked on your sip or performed a classic spit take at the mere thought).

There’s also the fact that the guest room is fairly small – certainly in comparison to our master bedroom – and we’re dealing with a full-size, rather than a queen bed. Unlike at home, I can actually stretch my arms out, and touch both sides of the bed at the same time in this bed. That’s not meant as a complain, but just an observation, mind you. And it’s just as well, since I’m keeping my belongings on one side, and Chompers on the other, and I need to deal with either at varying times. Best to be in the middle, where I can direct my attention to whatever needs it at a given moment, be it an alarm or a bark.

As for the question of respect, well, it’s one thing when the bed is actually ‘ours.’ We’re guests here only for a short time. There really isn’t a ‘yours’ and ‘mine’ when we’re here: the room and everything in it is Kevin’s (although he might point out that it’s ultimately his sister’s, as she bought the house and is essentially renting it to him. It’s a long story). Sure, we basically claimed the same sides as we did at home, but it’s all only temporary. Sticking to those claims here and now is kind of pointless.

Of course, I suppose that’s an attitude that can we take him to just about everything. When it all comes down, we’re just guests here on this planet, and everything we have – or think we have – it’s just something we have for the moment. It’s not ours, per se, and all the claiming in the world doesn’t really mean that much, once everything is said and done.

Still, once I get home, I would still hope for another guest to join us someday. Wish me luck, sweetheart.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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