For the entire time that I was consciously aware
Of what was happening around me and who people pretended to be
and what the world said that they should have been
juxtaposed with the reality of what they were
I always felt so sorry for my grandma.
Not only sorry that she grew up in a time that if she rode the bus it would be in the back of it
but mostly sorry because of her bed.
She had purple comforters and purple sheets
She had purple flowers in her headboard
She had the warmest most comfortable mattress I still have ever known
But only one side of her bed was ever unmade
the side where she entered and exited, alone.
The other side of her bed, shaped like a person would be
were bills and books she was reading
and a crotchet needle and balls of yarns
Her 3 different versions of the bible were on that side of the bed
And a couple of teddy bears with purple bows.
She seemed to me to be the most well adjusted person in our family
and conscientious and thorough and well spoken and well mannered…
Everyone who had ever met her had loved her, even her enemies.
She was generous and beautiful and thoughtful and yet
no one slept in her bed but her, or me when she worked nights
because her sheets smelled like her perfume and I didn’t feel alone
although she was gone until sunrise…
My mission became when I was around 13
to figure out what she did wrong and do the opposite because I couldn’t understand
why she had such lovely things and such lovely manners
but slept by herself surrounded by all of her favorite stuff
instead of sharing her bed with her lover, or boyfriend or husband…
She had fucked up somehow and it made me feel terribly.
My grandfather had moved on before I was born
and the only boyfriend that I remember her having had left in the 80s
and until she died 2 years ago she slept in that royal purple room
under those purple blankets
with her favorite reading materials at her side
and a couple of entertaining trinkets that all smelled of
lavender and rose petals.
This morning, I woke up and looked at my own bed.
My favorite gray and black sheets, fresh from the dryer.
My favorite gray and black comforter draped over the side
and the only disturbed edge is my own, the other side, covered with comic books and remote controls and my laptop and my body pillow and my headphones and my to do lists…
And she crossed my mind.
When I met my grandma she was 37. I’m now 42.
She knew something that I didn’t understand at 13 regardless of what I saw in the world.
I completely understand now.

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