Steve and I were looking online at futons for the spare room the other day. We wanted a place for a guest to sleep, but as per the usual, we’re on a budget. We found a few reasonably-priced futons and began reading their reviews. I noticed something after the first few, though. Inasmuch as they were reviews of the product–its durability, comfort, appearance, etc.–these bite-sized descriptions offered glimpses into the lives of the reviewers.
One review particularly struck me. A mother wrote that the twin-sized futon mattress was comfortable enough to sleep not only her, but her eight-year-old, and her five-year-old, all together. Beautiful imagery of mother and children drawn close. And such a maternal thing, a mother protecting her children, keeping them safe in the most vulnerable time, as they slept. The three on one futon suggested many things, a minimal living space being one. Did they share a home with others, multi-families, cramped, living on top of each other? Where was her mate? Was she single? Had she escaped an abusive relationship? Her review showed no emotion other than her happiness and satisfaction with the product. Of course, none of my scenarios may be the truth. Maybe she just needed a futon. Maybe it was just that. My mind has always gone to the sad, tragic side of things, though. Since I was a kid, I’d see people who looked down on their luck, and I would imagine the lives they led and think about them, worrying about them on the drive home. Now, I sometimes look at myself, how Steve and I are dressed, now that we are older and not as concerned about what strangers think when we run errands. People probably see us as we’re knocking around town like a couple of hobos and think, sadly, “Aww, look at them.”
Another futon story that caught my attention was the guy who broke up with his ex. She got the bed, so he needed a futon for his small apartment. Images popped into my head of a guy in a tiny apartment with nothing but a lamp, television on an overturned box, eating ramen, while sitting on his futon/bed. She got the bed. The bed. How much does that suck to have to give up one’s bed? I’ve never split up with someone where one of us got the bed and the other didn’t. But then would I even want our couple’s bed and all of its associated memories? Maybe I would rather have a futon and my freedom, my cramped apartment, and my ramen. But what if the bed were one of those Tempur-Pedic mattress beds, the type where the mattress adjusts up and down to suit the individual sleeper?
We all have our stories to tell, whether they involve futons or not. And that is life.
On an unrelated note, my son is home for his spring break this week, and everything feels as if it is in balance. It took the three of us just twenty-four hours to demolish his celebratory homecoming chocolate cake. Life is good.
After I wrote this post, I received word from a friend about the tragic loss of someone dear to her, a young man. Much too young. If you read this, my dear friend, know that I grieve for your pain. Sometimes life makes no sense at all, and we are left grappling for answers to the unanswerable. You are in my thoughts.