We are reorganizing, yet again. "Front spare bedroom" into study. More appropriate - Man Cave. Sleeper sofa, drop-leaf desk, book shelf. Vacation photos (I especially love the one of a young couple floating along on the underground river in Xcaret, Mexico). A comfortable place to read, to write... To contemplate our next adventure.
To accomplish the task required removal of a queen bed. Standard type, mattress and box springs, very nice metal scroll headboard. For its age, it's in great shape
We purchased it in the early 2000s. All of the kids were "out of the house," adults. Only one, our youngest, might use it more than occasionally during breaks from college. As it turned out, she quickly embraced independence and set her own course. The bed went virtually unused, save for the occasional visit from out of town relatives.
We moved it to our present house, mostly because...we did. December 2010 was tumultuous, frantic and fraught with emotion. We set up shop in a manner requiring the fewest decisions. And, left it that way.
Making room for the new furniture, I disassembled the frame and walked the pieces out to my truck, to donate. There are years of use left. And, in the darkening solitude unkempt emotion washed over me with the chill evening wind.
I wandered back into the house struggling with what I was feeling. It was metal. It was fabric. I asked friends for the word I was missing, one to describe why this inanimate object evoked such a strong reaction. I received a number of great responses, spot on point. Animistic. Sentient. Anthropomorphism. All excellent suggestions from great writers.
I looked up touchstone. It's a standard, or a test. Not exactly what I was looking for, until I read the third definition, in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
"A black siliceous stone related to flint and formerly used to test the purity of gold and silver by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal."
Everything pure and wonderful about this piece of metal I was shouldering had rubbed off on me as I loaded it up. There were the guests who had slept on it, and the wonderful times we'd had with them. There was the night our master bed collapsed, and we took refuge. And there were the wonderful mornings...
Many years ago, I'd woken up my daughters for school. Their mother and I were separating, and would soon divorce. One of them - I honestly don't remember who, was describing a distance. She spread out her arms as wide as they would go and exclaimed "It was at least two kids wide!" It was the most profound example of what I would soon be missing, the random and irreplaceable moments encountered as a new day unfolded.
They all grew up. First our son, who was 16 when I married his mom. Then the girls in succession. The house was quiet, breakfasts far less raucous. No requests for eggs or toast. A full coffee pot not drained like it once was.
But, sometimes, our home was a base. They would bring their new lives with them from Baltimore, or Ft. Myers or Maine, and sleep in the bed in the spare room. In the mornings, tousle-haired and bleary-eyed, they would emerge and say good morning. A new day was dawning, and one of our children was ready for us to make them breakfast.
A touchstone. Everything that was good and pure about those moments had rubbed off on the inexpensive frame and headboard that would soon find a new home. And now, one more time, it was rubbing off on me.