By Veronica Wells

From the time I was born until around middle school, my parents had a huge waterbed. I loved this bed. It was temperature controlled so it was warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If you’ve ever slept in a waterbed, you know that they cradle you. We loved our parents’ waterbed so much that they bought me and my sister twin size ones for our rooms. And then one day, the waterbed, my parents’ waterbed was going.

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My parents drained the water from it, broke down the wooden frame and headboard that came with it. It was a change I wasn’t ready for and when I asked my mom why they decided to get rid of their waterbed, she said,

“It was time. You know that’s the same bed your dad had when he was single. So you already know what was happening on that bed. We should have gotten a new one as soon as we got married.”

 No doubt. In their case, the marriage bed had been defiled.

After over a decade of marriage, I’m sure there was no residual…anything left on that mattress; still the idea that the bed my father shared with other women would be the one he started his marriage with is—symbolically…off. Still, they made it work.

Fast forward to earlier this week.

My fiancé and I are moving into our first apartment together. And after waking up and getting dressed for work, he asks, “Did your ex ever sleep in this bed?”

My intuition is spot on. I just be knowing. I assumed he was going to ask me this question years ago. But here it was now. I always knew I would tell him the truth, mostly because there was nothing to tell.

“Yeah he did. But we didn’t do anything.”

When I tell y’all nothing. I mean nothing. He slept on top of the covers, I slept underneath them, with my comforter balled up in between us. I had goals I was trying to reach and he was kind enough to accommodate. Nothing happened.

“I think we should get a new bed.”

My fiancé knows the story of my mom and dad and he brought up the similarities. But me abstaining and my dad…not…were two entirely different scenarios. And while he tried to draw a parallel I had to let him know it was a different situation, entirely. He knows that. I reminded him of that.

Still, he said he wanted a new bed.

I was just about to turn up, ask him if he thought I was lying, tell him how much I spent on the bed (I did do that, actually), go in. But I chilled. After all, I’d had that mattress since 2011. It was time for a new one. But I told him that since it was his idea to get a new bed, that he should be the one to pay for it…at least half of it.

He argued a fresh start should come with a fresh bed, and that didn’t have anything to do with who might have slept in the bed before him…So he says…But honestly, I can’t be mad at that.

But the whole thing made me think about the concept of things, particularly things that may have been involved with past relationships. Is it possible to take the loaded meanings out of them? When is our preoccupation with symbolism and the past obsessive versus reasonable?

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