I have a bed, but it doesn’t always get used. It collects things, a pile of things that – throughout the day – seem to sleep on the large mattress that stays cold at night with no warm bodies to fill its blankets. …and what of me, my open eyes in bleakest of hours? …and what of me, who is numb by day, who numbly clocks away his night on some blank schedule, pretending to make something out of nothing with dull eyes and an existential smile that’s lost in some abyss? Oh, what of me, a ‘fool on the hill’ in brooding thoughts, in a land unkept – toggling over confusion: am I insanely happy or am I merely depressed into the mattress? Or am I merely insane?
I have a bed, but it doesn’t always get used. I sleep standing and with my mouth drooped down and eyes teasing their lids. Sometimes, I crash for hours on the floor, because on odd nights, it is more appealing. Other sunlight-hours call my eyes shut on some couch or in the back of some car that is not mine. But mostly, I just wander to places I know not. The old creaky house I now know so better in the dark than in the light, and the weaving through the hallways like some labyrithmic Venetian street at night which seems to pull me closer and closer to some imaginary canal I’ve been looking for: that’s where I always am.
I have a bed, but it doesn’t always get used. One sits for months made and ready for my homeward return with sheets that are occasionally cleaned because that’s what mother’s do. Why change such traditions, even if it is simply cleaning clean sheets? Another sits awaiting some of the best night’s sleeps ever had – a bunk with my initials etched so painstakingly, so lovingly in its wood, and yet it has no sheets. It has no permanent dweller. It’s merely marked with initials that once graced its wooden racks. Yet another sits pawned off for some others’ use, likewise awaiting some return (but for mine?). None are permanent. None are home, and yet they all have been. None are right, not even with my own warmth pressing into their mattresses. Only the warmth of two bodies pressed into those blankets could make right these beds. Or would that even be enough?
I have a bed, but it doesn’t always get used. But that’s okay. There will be more beds. Big mattresses and clunky ones with peas underneath. Wee futons with bars like prison cells pressing through to curve and warp my body. Then, there are hospital beds for long visits or permanent stays, where I sometimes believe that the best sleep of all, the sleep I long for most, will be met in some worn hospital bed someday when Death, not the Sandman, comes whispering in my ears – their jobs so similar. Of course, there are matrimonial beds, the one of a couple I once knew, who toiled together through their engagement to make the bed with bare hands that they would someday put to a very sacred use. There’s stately beds, like that of wily Odysseus, marking a happy marriage of a powerful, wealthy leader and his beautifully adorned wife. Beds. There will be more beds.
No beds can I say I am ready for today. But for now, I just wait to sleep in Your arms. I’ll call that my bed. Just tell me where that is, and I’ll sleep there. Tell me when that is, and I’ll count sheep. I’ll keep the flock numbered and ordered by night, and I’ll tend them lovingly by day. Just tell me. Maybe I’ll sleep on some rock and call it a bed, and then, oh then, show me some staircase or path to take. Oh, I would sleep soundly on such a night. I would take a blanket to the floor if I could hear my Master call my name and seek him earnestly, spouting so willingly, ‘Here I am, Sir. Here I am.’ There’ll be other beds, like those I think of so oft, those I wish I had, but for now, I need to make sure I know what kind of bed is meant for me, what kind of sleep I sleep best to. So give me a bed. Just tell me. Just give me a bed, and I may sleep there, may sleep there for you, with you. I must first know that sleep before I can know any other.