y wife and are marital bed war veterans. It could be genetic — her father was a colonel in the Marines — or because she memorized seeing enlisted men getting bossed around (husband doesn’t qualify as a rank; no uniform or insignia).
Our bed hostilities are about respecting sides. She won the left-side war when we started living together. In fact, she wouldn’t marry me unless I pledged to stay on the far right unless otherwise instructed, until death do us part. It wasn’t written into the ceremony, but close.
Still, she should have known what she was getting into since I’m a highly skilled mattress vagrant. I start in one place determined to stay there but my sleeping hobo body has other ideas and heads for the wrong side of the tracks, which is where the colonel’s daughter lives (and sleeps).
This was okay for a while. She’d make grunting noises and kick me, hard, until I woke back into non-hobo me and grunted back.
But the border disputes kept happening. Basically my hobo side got the better of me. We tried a king sized bed, then a super king, but a hobo’s foraging knows no limits. I once woke up in a small ball beside her feet, which I thought were her lips, leading to all kinds of passionately strategic confusion.
One day, when my father-in-law visited (he’s retired from the Marines but not the family), his daughter announced she wasn’t sleeping because of me. “Just get him his own damn bed, maybe a bunk,” said the colonel. He wasn’t kidding. I explained my vagrant history but the colonel shrugged. “Figure it out or get of bed,” he said.
The grimmer part of the bed wars lasted for first six months of our marriage, until we moved into our first house. We installed the usual Continental Shelf-sized bed and I made my usual promises. But within a week I’d already strayed into enemy territory, moving effortlessly from my pillow to her pelvis in an unconscious search for a hobo underpass.
That’s when she snapped. “Okay, I’m building a wall.”
At first I was worried she’d actually go online, look up “marital bed walls,” and hire armed guards.
But no, my wife is the creative type. On a suggestion from the colonel (probably tapping from his experiences fighting the Viet Cong in caves), she got a sheet of sandpaper (yes) and created her own prickly version of the demilitarized zone. I thought this was very funny and said so. She put on her Viet Cong glare and said nothing.
The DMZ worked.
Now, whenever my alter ego goes rummaging — and he still does — he feels like he’s stepped on shards of glass. My hobo apparently doesn’t like pain. So he’s gotten used to pulling up lame, sometimes returning his last known habitat, namely his right side of the bed.
We kid about it now, saying our martial bed is scratchy. But martial law has held up so far. And once in a while, if I get really lucky (and I’m still awake), she lets allows a foray toward her side of the perimeter — so long as I don’t harass her pelvis.