It had been three days since Mark dumped Sam, and she was still sleeping on the couch, although “sleeping” was probably the wrong word for the intermittent spells in which her eyes closed. She had trouble even stepping into her bedroom; it used to be their bedroom, and that was complicated for her. When she did finally manage to walk in there, her eyes went straight for the bed. She tore off the blankets and sheets and threw them on the floor. And then it was just the mattress, the place they used to lay together and share everything with one another.
It had to go. Every second she spent staring at it, she thought of him. She grabbed at it and tried to figure out what to do with it. Now that she thought about it, it even kind of looked like him; it was tall, white, and sort of lumpy. His side was ever so slightly more sunken in, and she could just picture his naked form making that impression, and she felt sick. It was all she could do to keep from hurling all over the mattress and adding to the already countless number of stains on it.
She pulled herself together and got to work. She slid the mattress to the side, but failed to dislodge it from the box spring and dragged the metal bed frame across floor, gouging the hardwood in the process; another scar to remind Sam of the things she would rather forget. She tried once more, this time slipping her fingers under the edge of the mattress and tipping it up, successfully freeing it. Sam shoved the underside of the mattress and it tipped over and leaned against the wall, knocking over a lamp. The lamp was shaped like a leg, like the one from A Christmas Story, it was Mark’s. It didn’t break. She wished it had broken.
She tipped the mattress up on its end and gave it a shove. It barely budged; she was only a very small woman and it was quite a large mattress. She was going to need help. She took out her phone and scrolled through the names and landed on Tom, an old friend who had always been pretty helpful to her. He picked up almost immediately and Sam put her request as gently as possible, “Tom, do you think maybe you could swing by and give me a hand getting rid of this old mattress, I could really use the help.”
The length of the pause that Tom took was not comforting to Sam, and when he finally spoke, things only got worse, “sorry, but no.” Sam just hung up on him. She wasn’t interested in hearing his explanation, although she had to wonder. He’d never said no to her before, at least that she could remember. She couldn’t afford to lose anyone else.
Sam sighed, she felt as though she was being ignored. It was a familiar feeling. She didn’t care for it. The mattress finally passed through the doorway of her bedroom and into the living room. She closed the bedroom door behind her and took a rest, leaning her head against the mattress. With her face pressed against the mattress, her nose was flooded with the smell of stale pot smoke, another unpleasant reminder of the past. It took some time, but she eventually pushed the mattress across the living room to the door of her apartment. She swung the door open and began to slowly shove the mattress into the hallway. Her neighbor walked by and said hello, but didn’t offer to help. Sam gave a quick smile and then gave him the finger behind his back as he walked away.
Sam took her phone out again and called her dad. While it was ringing, her eyes fixed on the stains on the mattress. That would be awkward. When her father finally answered, all she could get out was, “I meant to call Dan, sorry dad.” She didn’t know a Dan.
She slid the mattress inch by inch to the stairwell at the end of the hall and began the arduous task of pushing the mattress up the stairs to street level. It was just the one flight of stairs, but it seemed impossibly steep and impossibly long for only a very small woman. Sam tried to get her shoulder underneath and push, but the mattress spun off of her shoulder and knocked her over. She gathered herself and tried again, this time successfully getting underneath it, but failing to make much progress.
At last, Sam managed to move the mattress up three steps. She sighed, paused, and shouted, “FUCK.” She dropped the mattress on the stairs and walked back into to her apartment, not bothering to lock the door behind her. She wandered the living room for a few minutes before the exhaustion hit her. She went to the bedroom, hoping to get some sleep. She looked around. The mattress was gone, and things seemed different. She scanned the room and her eyes fell on the leg lamp once more. She wrapped herself in the blankets that used to cover the bed, curled up on the floor, and tried her best to fall asleep.