I Learned About Love In His Twin Size Bed


Two people aren’t meant to be in a twin size bed.

But seriously, think about the logistics. Think about the space, the measurements. Think about the space of a twin sized bed and two relatively normal sized humans. Actually stop, and think about the very math behind such a simple equation.

If two people who are each average of 18 inches across try to inhabit an 80 x 76 bed, that only leaves roughly 20 inches of leverage on either’s end. Only 20 inches per person, ten inches per left and per right. And those ten inches turn to even less when rolling over. And those inches that have become less than a foot are not taking into account sleeping patterns or elbows.

Come on. Just think about the elbows.

But there we were. Not taking any math into consideration. Not thinking about those 20 inches. Not thinking about turning and tossing, sleeping or being restless, softness or edges.

It was simply all 16 years of ourselves and all 20 inches of those bony elbows knocking against each other at 11 PM in his twin size bed.

In his little bed. On his patterned sheets. Pretending, no, hoping no one heard us. But for all of our hoping of not waking his parents we were never concerned about the space we were making or invading.

Everyone had assumed I’d had sex before him, but they’d assumed incorrectly. I’d been called “easy”, “promiscuous”, “a girl who gets around” before. But despite the rumors that fly through small towns all that had happened to me up until his sun soaked lips pressed into mine in the parking garage outside of a hotel was nothing worth writing about or mentioning.

Nothing else mattered, because all I wanted was to be his.

So even though we never talked about it, never planned for it, when he went to undo to the buttons on my Gap jeans I bent into it. I folded into his palms and melted into his breath. I nonverbally agreed to be connected to him unintentionally forever and put myself in a position he would and will always remember, like it or not.

I choked back my gasps when it hurt and I pretended to not notice when those 20 inches you’d think we had to spare seemed to collapse on either side of us. I held his skinny, teenaged shoulder blades in my hands and repeatedly tried to say to myself, “This. This is what love is.” I remember crossing my fingers that I didn’t bleed and being ecstatic when I climbed into the driver’s side of my used car and saw through the dim light of the flip-down mirror that I hadn’t.

I remember driving home with the windows down. My arm was hanging out of the window and making hand dolphins, pretending each gust of air that approached my elbow was not saying, “Make curfew.” But was instead saying, “Don’t worry, baby. He’ll always love you.”

But, like every 16-year-old love that tempts those 20 inches, we didn’t fit.

Maybe it was the age, maybe it was being in high school. Maybe it was immaturity, maybe it was the improbability of young love. Maybe he had heard the rumors about me and decided to see if they were true. Maybe like every cautionary tale I had decided to ignore, once he undid those jeans and climbed on top of me he clearly had had enough.

Or maybe he just liked proving he could climb on top of my best friend as easily as he did me.

But no matter what the reasoning behind it was, we overlapped, overextended, and in turn fell away. And despite the heart ache I felt when I was 16, I went back when I was 19. He had the same twin sized bed with new-not-patterned sheets that I still tried to fit even though I never would.

Yet when we crashed again he tucked my hair behind my ear in the freezing cold air freshman year of college and told me I deserved better. I burned his skateboard in a bonfire and continued to claim I do not miss him, continued to say, “Yes I do deserve better.”

And continued to question whether I actually believed that.

But even still, 10 years and 20,000 inches later, I still think about him. I think about his sun-kissed lips and sun-kissed blonde hair and I can’t help but smile. Even after all of these years, I wonder if my name crosses his tongue and he tastes the hope of a 16-year-old the way I do when I say that one syllable that is his name.

Even still, every now and then I stretch my arms out in bed and try to measure the distance between my fingertips and the edge.

And I wonder if anything will ever close the gap the way he did in that twin size bed.