On (not) growing up


In the town house where David and I used to live, we would drag our mattress up and down the stairs.

You see, we wanted a movie night.

And so we set up camp in the living room. There was popcorn and flashlights and a blanket fort. Furniture was rearranged and then climbed over. Favourite titles were piled and debated over.

We stayed up all night like impish children, watching children’s movies and gobbling junk food. The night wore on, and our heavy eyes watched the flickering screen, drifting into sleep only to wake as the credits rolled.

And in the cold haze of the morning, we straightened the living room and dragged the mattress back up the stairs.

When you’ve been with your husband since high school, you know what it is to be kids together. To pass notes. To tie your shoelaces together and attempt to walk. To stay up all night for the first time.

And then the dreams get bigger and the to-do list grows. And they’re good dreams. Life changing ones. But spontaneity and firsts give way to daily commutes and signing contracts and taking the wheelie bin out every Tuesday.

Today gives way to forever. We worry about tomorrow. We stop making plans just to hang out. We adult.

And so we drag the mattress down the stairs.

It became a regular routine.

A bad day at work. A long weekend. A Harry Potter marathon playing on TV.

We dragged the mattress downstairs. Adventure. Freedom. Nostalgia.

We dragged the mattress upstairs. Routine. Stability. Work tomorrow.

David would take the front, I’d grab the back. We’d manoeuvre it around the U turn halfway down. We’d yell: Your side is down! No, your side! Don’t hit the wall! You go more like this and I’ll go…It’s slipping! PIVOT!

Love is like that sometimes.

Once, an unexpected visitor. “Why is there a mattress in your living room?”

Why indeed.

And then the dreams get bigger.

On the day we moved out (moved on, moved up, grown up), we had to scrub the place clean. We packed our memories into boxes and shut off the lights, already looking forward.

We never could get those mattress markings off the staircase wall.


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