The Middle

The first big purchase I ever made for myself was a double bed. It was an update from the single bed I’d been on most of my life, and it was mine-all-mine. I was so excited to have even more space to sleep on, double if you will, and I felt very proud of myself for buying it. When the bed was pushed against a wall I would hug the wall to sleep, but when there were no walls on either side I slept in the middle.

There is something glorious about sleeping in the middle of the bed – so much space on either side, blankets for days to cocoon in. I could kick my legs out in any direction I want and I never had to worry about rolling off the bed. I kept my sleeping pillows dead center of the mattress and extra pillows on either side because I like the feel of it.

As life goes and you meet people perchance you will find yourself with a romantic partner. And eventually, one day, they might sleep in the same bed as you. Being in a long distance relationship meant that didn’t happen for me too often. At first our visits were in hotel rooms, in big king sized beds where I still had tons of room. I do remember the months Wasband lived with me in my parents home and we slept in the same bed … that double bed I owned. It would have felt cramped but one part of the bed was against a dresser, which I treated like a wall and curled up next to it. When I moved to Windsor we were back to being long distance.

Once in Windsor I made an upgrade, a Queen sized bed. I also entered into a poly relationship, again with a partner who would very infrequently stay the night. So while occasionally I shared my sleeping space with someone else, it was very temporary. And I wasn’t used to it. I cared very deeply for my partners, but I could never get comfortable with them in my bed. Oh, I liked them being there, but I couldn’t get a comfortable good night’s sleep when sharing with them. I used to tell myself that it was “just one night” or “he’s only staying for a week” and resigned myself to catching up on rest once they were gone. Close to the end of my marriage I found myself resenting Wasband sleeping in my bed, keeping me awake, and my being uncomfortable. I remember being awake at 2 a.m. looking at this man and wondering if I really could live with him permanently, would we actually have to get separate rooms to sleep in. Was it my fault that I couldn’t sleep beside someone? Had I doomed myself by spending most of my 30-ish years in life sleeping alone? Was it because every time they left I put my pillows back to the middle instead of sleeping to one side of the bed?

After my marriage ended the first order of business was new bed-everything. While my actual bed would still last me a few more years I threw out every sheet set and pillow case in my home and got new ones. I had spent the last few years having to consider other people when purchasing bedding, no matter how infrequently they slept in it, and that buck ended here. I got sheets that I wanted, to my comfort level, that made me insanely happy to sleep on.

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And 18 months passed by, me on my wonderful sheets, sleeping gloriously in the middle of my bed. And, as life goes, I met someone. As I got to know him more flutters of panic would creep up if I thought about sharing a bed with him. I mean, it was bound to happen eventually as our relationship grew. Would it be just as bad? Was I doomed to never have this part of a relationship? How could I explain it to him?

Fast forward 6 months. I don’t miss sleeping in the middle. A couple of months ago I stayed in a hotel room and chalked up my crappy night sleeping to being in an unfamiliar bed with too-fluffy pillows. But I also slept in the middle for the first time in months that night. Today I have a definite my side of the bed, no longer all of it, simply one half of it. The sheets on it are still the ones I bought after my separation, but plans are in the works to splurge on sheets in the new year. I’ve never bought bedding with someone else before.

This all came to my mind this morning when I woke up and readjusted myself in bed, and noticed a gap in the blankets were a cool breeze touched my back … which, when I slept in the middle never happened because I cocooned in my blankets. And I was lamenting feeling a bit chilled when a warm body pulled me closer in his sleep, so we were both in the middle of the bed, and wrapped an arm around me. And I felt warm and safe and secure … which is never a feeling I’ve had in a bed before. It’s funny how the mind works.

~ J

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