I could barely hold up my end of the damn thing. And we had three flights of stairs to descend, and then a twenty-yard walk out to the moving truck. I started to bitch and moan about it, but then decided otherwise. After all, he is getting a divorce. I reminded myself.
The “he” in this case was my friend, JD (who has a J.D., which makes him J Squared, DD) and he and his wife Rebecca were calling it quits after eight years. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him though because I always thought that of all of my friends who were still married, his marriage would be the one to last. They were seemingly inseparable and didn’t seem to argue much. At least in public.
So I bit my tongue and didn’t say anything about the King-sized mattress that was now pinning me up against the wall and squeezing my insides out through my navel. JD could have easily hired a moving crew but this ritual was one he had to do. It has been performed by many men over the past forty years or so: the Divorce move. I’ve done it (a few times) and I’ve helped many others do it. You don’t want to hire a moving company. You’d rather lug your own stuff out of the place you’ll probably be paying for, for the next twenty years, as if this is some sort of final “hoorah” or last act of defiance. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. It didn’t to me either. But in my own personal case, I just felt compelled to do it. Now JD was taking this last walk and he wanted me to be there with him. If he didn’t have this big ass bed weighing me down, I might’ve felt some sort of honor.
Instead my kidneys hurt.
“This was it.” He turned to me after we finally got the thing in the truck.
“What do you mean,” I asked, trying my best not to look tired.
“If we hadn’t gotten this big bed, we’d probably still be together.” He leaned against the truck wall as if relieved to finally get that off of his chest. Or to at least have put this colossus down.
I thought for a moment, unsure of how to answer this. Was he actually saying the bed caused the divorce?
“She wanted a bigger bed. I liked our Queen-size. Hell I liked our full-size bed we had when we were younger,’ he added. ‘We got this bed and it’s like we just kept drifting further and further apart.”
I considered interjecting that the bed had nothing to do with the divorce. They had in fact drifted further and further apart because he spent a lot of time traveling around the country representing pension funds. They had really started drifting further and further apart when he discovered she was having an affair. The bed had nothing to do with it.
Or did it?
JD was convinced that the bed had everything to do with it. In his mind because they were no longer sleeping closer to each other, they couldn’t help but grow apart. It sounded kind of kooky at first, but then I had to really think about it. What size beds had I had in my married days? Queens? Kings? I finally concluded that it had to have been Queens which I always thought were the perfect size. We could come together if we wanted to and if not I had enough space to stay undisturbed on my side and vice versa. Maybe we should have gotten a Full and that would’ve forced us to sleep closer together?
That night I couldn’t really shake JD’s assessment. I called a few of my divorced friends in order to get their feedback. Most had in fact had Kings or Queens. JD was right. The bigger the bed, the bigger the problems.
Had he stumbled on something groundbreaking and enlightening, maybe even Freudian? I called my oldest sister, a psychologist, to get her take.
“Ridiculous,” she said.
I’ve always hate when she says that. Because well, most of the time she’s right.
“There’s no correlation between the two. A bigger bed gives you more space. A smaller bed forces you to be in each other’s space which would probably lead to more problems anyway. Someone would feel like they’re not able to find a place to unwind, while reading. Someone might think the other person is taking up too much space. The list could go on.”
She was right.
I hadn’t even considered that.
And of course she did have to add that she’s been married for 12 years and they still have the king-sized bed they got as a wedding present. And as far as she knew, her husband wasn’t going anywhere and neither was she. Unless of course I was counting the trip to Barbados they were leaving for in a week.
And just like that, this new “law” had been shot down and rendered untrue.
After we hung up, I had a moment to reflect on everything I had just heard. In that never-ending quest to discover the secrets of love and harmony, I had overlooked the most important detail:
The real reason people get divorced isn’t because of the size of their bed, but it’s because of the size of the space already between them.