The dog peed on my favorite pillow today. I throw it in the wash, but soon hear the washing machine buck loudly. I squeeze out the trapped water, but the pillow is so water-heavy, the worn fabric tears, exposing soppy grey-white goose feathers.
Years ago, we had a flood in our home and were directed to stay at a nice hotel. With all the black mold legal remediation, the few days at a hotel turns into 8 months. My husband and daughter miss home, but I love being here. This hotel has three restaurants, a spa, a gym, tennis courts and golf trails to walk around. Plus, someone cleans our rooms every day. Not cleaning and not cooking frees up so much time to study, write, work and hang out with the family.
When we move out, I take the hotel bed pillow that I have fallen in love with.
Soon I feel guilty. I take my 12 year-old daughter with me to return the pillow to the hotel. I give some lecture about stealing being bad, morality, honesty, etc. as we walk back into the hotel lobby. I carry the pillow and see Martin, the stern former Marine, who works the check-in desk. I feel embarrassed.
“I took this pillow with me when we left.” Martin looks at me and frowns. Takes the pillow. Then shrugs, “Keep it.” He hands it back to me and I light up,
“Thank you. I love this pillow.”
I am sure I may have loved another pillow or two in my life, but this one has been with me through so much.
- The time my husband drove my brand-new car and some drunk lady hit him from behind destroying my back bumper. I was so angry, I marched upstairs, pounded my pillow and screamed bloody murder into it.
- When my parents died. I buried myself in the soft folds of my pillow and cried forever.
- When I am sick. I can mold it to support my aching head or bones in just the right way.
- When my toddler grandson jumps on my bed. I hit him with my pillow and he falls over laughing.
Other pillows come to mind: The pink one my friend used to prop her body as she recovered from breast cancer surgery; the small plaid one sewn by an 8 year-old neighbor for my doggie’s bed; the ones people drag through airports because they need to sleep on their own pillow, no matter where they go; and the full body pillow I gave a patient when she was dying, so she could sleep more comfortably.
I threw my favorite pillow in the trash today. I am going to miss you. You were stained and worn, soft and pliable. You absorbed my anger, soaked up my tears and cushioned my dreams. You gave me support, comfort, and security. Thank you for your service.