Friday, July 14, 2006

laid to rest

it has served me well for the better part of a decade, that bed. right now it is either leaning against the no parking sign where i left it last night, or taking a ride to that bedroom in the sky in the back of a south jersey sanitation truck. *sigh.* it was my first bed that was bigger than a twin. the first piece of furniture i ever bought. the only piece of furniture in my first apartment for the first few days. i bought it at the corner store with money i earned at my summer temp job down near baltimore's inner harbor. i'm not joking when i say corner store, either. there's a furniture store at 33rd and greenmount (or at least there was one then... it's the area you see in the opening montage of ch.ris rock's movie about the brother who ran for president - the name escapes me now - yeah, i know the movie was set in d.c., but i also know my old neighborhood when i see it, and that stuff in the background is in b-more, right up the street from the store on the corner where i bought my bed.) my bed was cheap. i was making about $9 an hour, full time - the most money i'd ever made in my life to that point - and i was itching to get out of an uncomfortable roommate situation. i'd just handed over first month's rent and security for my first apartment, a converted attic within walking distance from both campus and the hood storefronts where i could get chicken boxes with the little square rolls for two dollars if i was ever out of instant grits or oo.dles of noo.dles. i didn't have no s.ealy, s.erta, or c.oil money. so i paid $99.00 plus tax and delivery for a full size, no-name, no-pillowtop, no warranty mattress with no exterior satiny quilting, the boxspring, and the frame. the men who delivered my bed put it on the porch and my downstairs animal house neighbors helped move it up the two flights of stairs, in the middle of summer, to my empty hot box - a truly humble abode.

i was so proud.

i was an adult, taking care of myself. i had keys to my own place and a brand new bed i'd paid for myself. don't stop, get it, get it! if nothing else, i didn't have to sleep on the floor.

that bed rode with me through college and two graduations. though i did eventually get more furniture, i still ate on it, studied on it, wrote in my diary in it, wrote poetry in it, read and listened to music in it, prayed beside it, took sick in it, consoled myself in it, made love in it, and cried over lost loves in it. in the numerous times i worked numerous jobs at once to keep the bills and rent paid, it was there to support my weary body. it moved with me three times, even though the springs began to lose their spring, and the lining began to peel off the bottom of the boxspring, and i had to cover the top with a feather mattress to make the thing bearable to sleep on. it was so silly: the feather mattress was a twin size. the bed was a full size. i'd set that mattress in the middle and the sides would be all hanging bare, like the edges of bread slices when you put a hamburger on it. but i loved my bed - was thankful for and proud of my bed - it was the symbol of my independence and the beginning of my adult life.

it's been several years, now, and i am both the same and a different person. moving, AGAIN. and eager to embrace the changes that are happening in my life, and in that vein, many things are being tossed in my purge - first, to prepare for a smaller apartment, and secondly, because i'm not a big girl, i'm a grown woman. my hand-me-down couch. my fam.ily college tupperware. the dishes and glasses i bought at a yard sale for $20 the weekend after i moved into that first place. my hand-me-down microwave with the broken timer dial that still works, no matter what all my friends say. ("how am i supposed to know how long it's been in there?" "it don't matter - just touch it to see if it's hot - shoot, it'll be done when it's done, and shutup talking about my microwave! my auntie gave me that!") no matter what, everything i owned was a miracle to me. i was, and still am thankful for every thing i had, no matter whether i bought it cheap, or it was someone else' s trash - it was all blessing in my eyes. God has blessed me and continues to do so. ax about me. ask my visitors if my dwelling places were anything less than welcoming and as comfortable as love could make them. ask the guests who i've surrendered my bed to whether or not they slept well at night.

last night, i slept on my fold-out loveseat. i'll be getting a nice new wooden futon with a spring mattress for this new place, that will probably be a guest bed when i move on up into homeownership. but before i move too quickly, i just had to stop and acknowledge that old bed jostling in the back of some green trash truck, and how thankful i was for the blessing.