Mattress as Metaphor
June 8th, 2009 by Christina


I’m determined not to let this blog veer off into sad/weepy/bitter/poor-me territory (as it is, I visit that arid zone in person more often than I’d like). That said, Saturday kind of sucked and I need to get it off my chest, so please bear with me. (It’s not all reckless abandon here in Splitsville, you know.)

R, who lives nearby, arrived at about 9 am to help me move some furniture. I live in (formerly-our) house and we will be renting out the top floor soon. Since (formerly-our) bedroom was up there, we needed to move the bed downstairs to what will be my new room. Maneuvering the huge mattress down the narrow staircase seemed like such an obvious metaphor. I had that out-of-body feeling where you’re simultaneously living your life and observing it.

I was thinking: Look at the once-loving couple as together they move their marital bed into a new room because now only one of them sleeps in it. Notice how big and unwieldy it is as they turn the corner, cram it into its new location and let out sighs of relief. Life sure is crazy sometimes.

That planted a seed of sadness in me that blossomed later in the day, when we were at our daughter’s dance recital. It was the first big event R and I attended in our new incarnation as a formerly-married couple, the first time we arrived separately and didn’t sit next to each other, and the first time both sets of grandparents were in the same room together since the separation. I was a bit of a basket case.

I had a lump in my throat while watching our beautiful daughter dance so beautifully and while thinking about how R and I created her and how we now know and admire our ever-changing children from different vantage points. R is two rows down and to the left. Oh, I get it: he is not next to me anymore.

After the show, everyone milled around while waiting for the dancers to appear. I greeted my (former) in-laws, R greeted his. R and I stood side-by-side, awkwardly chatting about our child. Assorted members of these two families–who spent almost every holiday together for years and years–were now nervously making pleasantries.

I’m sure we were all relieved when our young dancer emerged from back stage and quickly stole the spotlight from the elephant in the room.

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5 Responses  
pam writes:
June 8th, 2009 at 5:41 pm

christina, so sad. beautifully written but so sad!

Steph writes:
June 8th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Oooh, ouch. I feel the pain of your formerly (and no, I don’t feel as though I own the word.) You are formerly married, and if you ever decide that you are Formerly Married, feel free to post about it on my blog.

Denise Schipani writes:
June 9th, 2009 at 7:35 am

Beautifully written, Christina. My sister has been divorced for years now. When my niece graduated, her ex husband was with us (not with his new wife, but that’s a whole other story!), and being together with him, my parents, my kids, and my sister’s kids made me melancholy. I get why he’s wrong for her, but he was a good brother in law. It’s all just … sad. And I guess it always will be.

Jennifer Fink writes:
June 9th, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Thanks for sharing this. As determined as you may be not to let this blog sink into menalcholy, from the reader’s perspective, it’s nice to see a bit of the whole picture.

The dissolution of a marriage — of relationship that created children — is big and huge and messy and painful. And those poignant little moments ring true for all of us, no matter what our marital status.

Living in Splitsville » Blog Archive » I Can’t See Clearly Now writes:
September 20th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

[...] must my blurry vision join the unwieldy mattresses, sides of trees, and petulant automobiles in their metaphorical mission? My eyes seem to be saying [...]

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