Sleeping on one side of the bed was Adam’s preferred method. He’d never been one to spread out and claim the center fold of the mattress. Of course, as a 32 year old, he’d never admit it, but he was almost frightened of it. He pictured a great big hand coming up on either side of the frame and snapping it closed shut to make a sandwich out of him. Swallow him whole and swallow him whole wheat.
What resulted was a sort of “reserved” sign on the unoccupied side. Meanwhile, he preferred the spot closest to the window where he could hear the rumble of the subway. He’d slept that way so long his bed had acquired a little divot in it to make way for his shoulders and hips.
Sleeping on one side of the bed had the unintentional effect of transforming it into a playground attraction. Years of catering only to his own needs, whims and cravings, and wearing down the original springiness of his personality with habit, had transformed his bed into a see-saw. Adam had been keeping space for a companion, but he never understood that he also had to give that companion weight. Preferring to sleep on the left, his side perpetually sank down to the floor. The right side was airborne. So when Emily leaned over and asked what he was reading, Adam was oblivious.
“I’m only halfway through.”
“It gets better. The last one hundred pages are gorgeous.”
“Well, I read a lot.”
Instead of engaging, Adam collected his belongings, tucking his book away, and prepared the exit the train at 59th street. Adam let the invitation to ask “what do you read” remain painfully unasked. And Donna was suspended.