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The Mattress by Teena Nguyen
 

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  • I came home from a long strenuous day of work. 18 hours straight of work that has totally drained me, I settled down to the old mattress we have set up in the corner of our proud little home. We went searching for that perfect couch to match with our sporadic free spirited set up of a place but that never happened. Nothing just gelled well with what we have envisioned. In the end we came up with the ingenius idea of dressing up that old mattress as a resting area in the corner of our living room, in the place of a couch. A resting area for friend's with updates, and lovers with secrets.

    A 5 dollar patterned tapestry neatly topped the mattress with a half circle against the wall that somehow reminds me of a magic carpet. We got the red classic plaid sleeping bag and the leafy throw overs for the colder nights. My pillow pet Andy I brought from home propped to the side, with the mustard yellow side table resting easily to the corresponding side. The table was covered in the misplaced objects around our place that belongs to no particular organizational group. But somehow they made their way onto that tiny mustard yellow table and they Belonged Together.

    Belonged Together...I repeated in my head as I sat on the mattress undisturbed for the first time in 18 hours, only to be interrupted by an old spring that decided it's had enough and jerked free from the bed frame, making a small but noticeable "thump" right underneath my bottom. I lay my head back against the teal painted wall and reminisce about that mere object I'm sitting on, now covered with new souvenirs we've accumulated from since our fresh start of a new chapter in our lives. I couldn't help but smile.

    I knew deep down inside me when we decided to buy a new mattress that I was not ready to let this old, sunken in mattress go. A flood of feels enters me with a little bit of ridiculousness sneering behind, being that this old mattress can make me feel this genuinely emotional. How so much has changed, I always take time to remind myself.

    I still remember the first day I got that mattress. The only ex boyfriend I ever counted was the one who brought it to my first off campus apartment. I thought he was the hero back then, for setting up my bed. Little did I know my hero was a nightmare in disguise. I guess I don't tack too much together between the ex and my mattress, being that the percentage of those memories are small and heavy with nonsense. I sat on this mattress when I argued with him for the last time and watched him walk away from my life and into a memory I only beg to forget. I spent sleepless nights on this mattress wondering if I would ever climb out of the pits of a broken heart, wondering when is the next time i'll genuinely laugh and mean it. The day I laid lifeless on this bed with my cell phone pasted to my cheek drenched in tears as he told me that he no longer loves me and that I can plainly die and it wouldn't matter any to him. I guess its hard to admit but on this mattress a part of me did die.

    The in betweens are fuzzy as a part of a coping mechanism; I mentally travel on this old mattress through the depths of my memory, I can see and feel the light beaming at the end of a dark, dark past. I can physically feel the sun peeping through my fluttering hanging blinds warming my upcoming thoughts. The warmth of a new beginning breaking through.

    I remember the night I sat on this mattress looking straight over at you on the other side trying to comprehend the words that came out of your mouth. "I have feelings for you," the apprehension of not knowing if I'm ready to take the baby steps back into companionship. How appalled I was to hear the arrangement of those words come from the mouth of someone I called my friend. Somehow baby steps turned into leaps and next thing you know we are up late night staring at the dark ceiling, shoulder to shoulder talking about what ifs and what nots straight through the morning. The fine line between friendship and lover was smudged over time, but it was never lost, the true reason why we worked. In a way for the longest time we were back to back looking for the halves that we needed only to turn around to be surprised that we are finally complete. How I felt when the vibration of my phone woke me from the middle of my sleep, to find a text buried between my pillow and this mattress saying "I miss you."

    "I miss you." It was then when the simple words that we said to each other on this mattress peeled off its covers to evaporates into the cracks of my soul.

    "What did you do today?"

    "Want to go grab ice cream?"

    "How was work?"

    "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?"

    "I think I really like you."

    "How many kids do you want?"

    "Should we make it official?"

    "Is this forreal?"

    "Will you be my boyfriend?"

    "I love you."

    Then somehow my mattress, became our mattress. We went everywhere with this piece of mediocrity didn't we. We took it with us when the person I thought was my best friend betrayed me and plotted to have me kicked out of my own old apartment. That time was hard, but weren't we the happiest? I still remember that day when we had no choice but to pushed all our furniture to the front patio and posted on the facebook group that we were giving all the furniture away for free because we had no space to bring it with us, being that we were living from couch to couch. People cleared our things within 5 minutes of the posting, it was hard to accept but we moved on. We rolled up the only necessary thing we could carry, this mattress. We pushed it into the back of your Accord and was on our way. We brought this mattress everywhere with us while we went from home to living room to couch. Somehow we made it work. We laid it against that window at our first apartment, where the summer sun would shine down on us every morning before we got up for class. We plopped it on the floor of your friend's empty room for a week or so, until we found the proper place to live. We laid it against that couch in that living room of those cute friendly girls that housed us for 1 month. And once it was all over and we accomplished what we wanted. We rolled this piece of memorabilia into a sandwich, stuffed it into your car, and moved on with our life together and never once looked back on the difficulties and the hardships we had to face that summer. This flimsy sad mattress was our only truthful home.

    I finally fall to my side and lay my cheek onto this mattress, and realized how far we have came. Somehow we went from the two people who gave away all their furniture minus an old mattress, to people who are living and pursuing their dreams, with finally a place of their own in the city that fits the both of us like a glove. The experiences that we've collected throughout this journey thus far is synonymous to that magic carpet like tapestry, that pillow pet, that mustard yellow table...

    Isn't it borderline pathetic that I feel like I can relate to this old mattress more than I do some people who I used to call my closest of friends? Me and you, at our core we are the exactly same. Aren't we? Underneath all that has happened and packed onto us the past year, is only to enhance what has always been. Those old souls holding on to the unimpressive bare minimum of a mattress that represented of what we needed the most.

    And that have always been, each other.


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