A great endless plain, that king mattress stretched on and on forever, or so it seemed.
Seventy-six inches wide. Eighty inches long. Sixteen inches bigger than my queen! Twenty-two inches larger than his full and five inches longer than both!
Yes, my husband, Brian, and I sleep in separate bedrooms. Experts call it a “sleep divorce.”
It all began about 18 years ago, when one night he woke in a tizzy, grumpily flew out of bed and stomped out while mumbling, “I’m done! From now on, I’m sleeping in my own room.”
To be transparent, I admit this was after I nudged him awake to let him know he was snoring. I guess I had elbowed him one too many times. (At this writing, he reminds me it was more like 15 to 20.)
“Laugh and the world laughs with you,” I wryly noted. “Snore and you sleep alone.” That did not go over very well.
At first, I kept it on the QT, worried what people would say or think about us breaking the universal decree that couples sleep together.
Over the years, I have become quite skilled at referring to what was once our bedroom as “the bedroom.” A lot of good that did when he simply referred to it as “Paula’s bedroom.” No 50 shades of gray here – just 50 shades of red.
We have been sleeping apart ever since.
That was until last Friday when traveling we stayed in a motel room with a king-size bed.
“How do you think it’ll go?” he asked with trepidation.
“How do I think what will go?” I answered sheepishly, knowing full-well what he meant.
“The king mattress.”
“Oh, that! It’ll be great!”
Hey, a positive outlook never hurt anyone. Besides, if you think happy thoughts, you can fly. In this case flying would be sleeping together peacefully.
The more I thought about having a humungous mattress, the more my enthusiasm grew over being reunited in a king.
It would be like a good old-fashioned sleepover with your BFF.
Enough distance to buffer his snoring.
Plenty of space to stretch out.
Plus, our three Dachshunds could scratch and roll in the covers without cramping us.
Before falling asleep, we fantasized about having a king at home.
There was a lull in our conversation as we stretched our legs and arms, marveling over all the space.
Then, in a soft voice, the kind he gets when he’s feeling mellow, he whispered, “When we get really old, I mean really, really old – older than we are now, I think it would be nice to be close at night in a king – to reach out and know that you are right there.”
Smiling, I nodded, yes, that would be nice.
That was last Friday.
On the drive home Saturday, we didn’t discuss it, quietly returning to our own beds.
Sunday morning in church of all places, right before the sermon, my husband whispered, “How’d you sleep last night?”
“Really, good,” was my reply.
“Me, too!” Brian concurred, grinning broadly. “It’s not going to happen,” he chuckled, shaking his head no.
“What’s not going to happen,” I asked, knowing full well a king bed was not in our future.
“No king bed for me.”
Oh, well, I guess happily ever after doesn’t always mean you have to sleep together.
Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning writer whose columns appear weekly in regional newspapers in the Upper Midwest. Over the years, the author’s works have garnered top national honors, including her creative non-fiction chapbook “Look. Don’t Look.” – the 2017 First Place Award in NFPW’s national writing competition. For more information, email email@example.com.