Dismantling my childhood bed
The snow was thawing as I dragged the pieces of my childhood bed out to the street and laid them the wet embankment next to the driveway. Allison and I spent yesterday afternoon tearing the bed from the wall, systematically dismantling it with screwdrivers and hammers. This bed, where I had slept as a kid and a teenager had lately turned into an area where we piled junk—dirty clothes, half-read books, miscellaneous paperwork, and some toys and stuffed animals that Allison especially wished to see disappear, including My Pet Monster. The bed had been there when my family moved into the house in 1985, and there had also been another one like it that my brother slept in, but it had been dismantled decades ago, when I claimed the room for myself at age 10 or so. Allison and I speculated that this wall-bed had originally been built in the 1970s. She asked me if it felt "weird" to obliterate such an important piece of my childhood, and all I could do was shrug. I'm not very sentimental. We found some photographs from my high school / college years in a drawer under the bed, including a few from my trip to Scotland when I was 18. I was much skinnier then, beardless of course, standing with some classmates in my boxer shorts on the shore of the North Sea. I don't remember what my personality was like in those days, whether it's the same as it is now. In any case, I remember running pell-mell into the North Sea: how cold it was, how exhilarating. That's something I would still do. In New York City, I did the Polar Bear Plunge for several years, and last summer Allison and I had an exciting date leaping off waterfalls in Washington state. But it's hard not to see a different person when I look at that photo of myself in Scotland at age 18. The other thing I remember from that day is that afterward I hung those orange boxers out to dry in the backyard of some house where everyone was hanging out at—and someone stole them. I had just bought them recently, and it has always kind of amused me that the only thing I ever did in those shorts is run into the North Sea, and then they disappeared forever. And now that old bed, where I slept from age 5 to 18, has also disappeared forever. The room feels more open now, more adult—I am 35 now, after all. Perhaps the next step should be to repaint the walls, which still have the same garish colors and ugly splashes of paint I covered them with 20 years ago.