It was just a pillow. Never in the history of all mankind, I am certain, has something as simple as a pillow caused so much discord between spouses. The reason for the fight? That thing was solid as a stone wall. And neither one of us wanted it.
Last year, Matt and I finally relinquished our sagging mattress to a Tempur-pedic bed. The promise of a good night’s sleep and the backing of “doctors everywhere” were highly persuasive. We don’t sleep nearly enough as it is, considering the constant interruptions from the night wanderings of a passel of tiny trolls, but we thought we might contribute better to the sleep we WERE getting by upping the mattress quality. It cost us an arm and a leg.
“For our health!” we reasoned.
In conjunction with this purchase, we were convinced by the saleswoman that the best accompaniment to our purchase was a set of Tempur-pedic pillows. These pillows came in a variety of firmnesses. (If “firmnesses” is not a word, I just made it one. So there).
We both opted for “soft.” Considering you can’t even jump on the bed without feeling like you’ve hit a door, we decided we needed something with a little more give to it. What came back from the factory was one “soft” pillow and one “suitable as a car jack, or as a levee in case of a flood” pillow. Wanting to wrap the process up and not wait for another pillow (patience not having ever being a virtue of mine), I told the salesperson, “Oh, it’s no problem. I’ll take that one!”
I’m good like that. Kind, sacrificial like that. I beamed at Matt.
Matt was wary. As it turns out, he was so for very good reasons. I had no idea what sleeping on that thing would actually be like. The first time I put my head down (or rather, let it drop too hastily), I told Matt I needed an Advil. I’ve hit open refrigerator doors and didn’t hurt that much.
So began the struggle for pillow domination. With matching pillowcases, I could slip Matt’s off his side of the bed and onto mine. Every time one of us slept on it, we woke up with back pain, neck pain, cramped muscles, or all of the above. I had a good mind to call the company and tell them that whatever doctors were backing this Tempur-pedic stuff needed to spend a night on their own material and get their facts straight. But I didn’t. I was chicken. Plus, I’d actually said I WANTED the harder pillow. Like a moron.
Matt – reasoning that I spend a lot of my time feeling unwell, particularly when I’m in a flare – finally offered up the pillow. For good. I was so touched, that I promised not to use the hard one in a pillow fight against him anymore. The one and only time that had happened, Matt buckled to his knees. All 6’1″ 250 pounds of him. It was a heck of a pillow.
From that point, Matt dumped the thing onto the ground every night in order to get some sleep, retrieving one of the lumpy, old synthetic pillows from its place of retirement in the downstairs linen closet. But when he naps (which he loves to do – I am convinced he is part bear the way he loves to hibernate) – he slides the soft pillow back to his side of the bed, and thus go the next ninety minutes or so because his sleep is so restful. As it should be, when you sleep on an unreasonably expensive pillow, hard OR soft.
So there, on the floor, the brick-solid pillow lay. Until one day I saw Noah pushing his fist into it.
“I like this.”
Matt and I watched him.
“Yes, it looks like it.”
“Can I have this pillow? Because if I do,” (mashing his fists into it, folding it in half, kneeling on it) “I won’t beat Jesse up as much.”
I didn’t even care that he’d qualified his statement with as much. All I heard was the first part: “I won’t beat Jesse up.”
“YES!” I lept up. “Absolutely, honey! Let me get you a fresh pillowcase for it!” I went flying down the hall. When I came back I shot Matt a look. It was a look that said: “See? I get all his quirkiness AND I just saved us the money on that pillow because someone actually WANTS it! It’s like the blue body sock, baby! I’m actually figuring this thing out!”
So the pillow, moldable as a piece of clay, conforms every night to Noah’s head – after he’s had a good squeeze on it. Jesse watches from his bed, spared, for now. Until Noah starts to complain the pillow is giving him a headache. Then we’ll be in trouble.