Long prologue short: Fell in love three years ago. Started relationship. Laughed. Cried. Effed. Moved in together. Lived gay dream in Hells Kitchen for approximately 3.5 seconds. Broke up. Moved to Queens.
By this time, I was in denial that I was:
1) Flawed enough to be broken up with.
2) Actually broken up with.
3) Twenty-five and poor.
4) Living in Queens.
My move to an outer-borough was temporary, right? No. Soon the waves of sporadic weeping subsided and the fact that I was paying beans to live in a great apartment (far from civilization but great) set in. I was staying put. I settled into my little room and the little bed that came with it. Said bed was inherited from the previous tenant- but just the frame. Sleeping on a stranger’s mattress is the grossest thing after girls’ underwear. I would get my own, thank you. Unfortunately, funds were low and mattresses are heavy so I figured an inflatable one would do…
Eventually I got past the cartoonish squeaking sounds that came forth from the rubber beast from even the slightest shift. I slept like a corpse to prevent my unbearably attractive roommate from hearing anything and mistaking my restless leg syndrome for an all night masturbation session with his intimates. (No, I never got that desperate). One night, I decided to read. Sensible. My bed provided me with an excellent headboard to recline against and enjoy the latest in teenage coming out novels, which I’d recently taken a fancy to. These were perfect distractions because despite the protagonist’s mixed emotions and difficult parents, that gay teen still wasn’t living in Queens.
Fall to the ground.
Yes, fall to the ground. My hand-me-down bed was brilliantly assembled without screws. Not a one. Just pegs in holes…and not the kind that I could take this opportunity to make a dirty joke about. Forty-five minutes, two borrowed screws from a kitchen chair and a strategically placed 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee paperweight later, I had a bed. The noisy rubber mattress wasn’t the only thing to worry about. Now I had to avoid moving and placing any weight whatsoever on the bed frame to avoid falling violently to the granite floor below.
Only the victim of a date rape could achieve the kind of terrifyingly still sleeping that I had perfected in the following weeks. My new job was finally bringing in the income I needed to get a new mattress…but sleeping like Juliet (pre-stabbing) wasn’t too bad so I spent that money on important things like drinks and cheese fries. Immediately upon making that decision, my back began to hurt. I wasn’t sleeping soundly. The jig was up. Just when I thought it was (again) the universe taking a stab at my celestial voodoo doll, I realized the reason for my pain was much sore scientific: a hole in my rubber.
I pumped that bitch up every night just to find myself lying like the beef inside of a taco shell in the morning. Ugh. New tactic. My new sleeping arrangement consisted of a broken (but standing) bed frame, the slats that traditionally hold a traditional mattress, a deflated rubber mattress and various couch pillows lined along my body to simulate an acceptable sleeping situation. Now that I was done crying over my shattered dreams of a West Elm decorated apartment and Asian babies, I could cry over how tragic my solitary life had become. Thank god for that layer of rubber beneath me, for the salty fluid pouring from mine eyes would have surely warped the wood.
How does one begin to start feeling better about oneself? Well I had no money for drugs or cigarettes but sex was (and still is) free. Queue a hot little blonde number from down the street. Blondie was the perfect rebound guy. He came in, allowed me to bum a smoke off him, refrained from judging the bed situation, rolled around naked with me for an hour and then left. Needless to say, I went to bed not caring that I was basically sleeping on a medieval torture device. Ahhhh. Life wasn’t so bad, after all.
“It’s fine. It’s fine,” I thought. I’d deal with it in the morning.
I got another three months out of that bed and eventually got a mattress…a real one! One day I grew tired of constantly refitting pegs in holes and re-screwing screws that didn’t fit in a bed that needed custom screws. My Ikea mattress was comfy enough and my floor was clean. A recent viewing of Spirited Away inspired me to pull a Mulan and revert back to simple ways of my Asian brothers and sisters. I would sleep on the floor. The do that, right?
And I still do. It’s strangely glamorous, actually. It’s amazing what a few nice pillows and a hanging wicker lantern can do to a poor kid’s room. Now, it’s less tenement and more Arabian palace…but without the beheadings and lamb kabobs.
I'd ask you to start a talkback about how you sleep...but I really don't care.
kingjeremyj on twitter
#tbt to being able to move my head without the constant fear of traumatizing my neck 🙃May 2, 2019