The crack in the bed
There are certain pieces of childhood that stay firmly planted there -- forgotten and abandoned by our later adult selves, simply because they cease to occur after the age of ten. Not the major milestones, or even the memories, but those little snippets that were so ultra-important at the time, but now just another neglected remnant, like Kool-Aid mustaches and growing pains.
The one that came screaming back to me today was when I asked my son where he thought his shoes might be -- a question that is asked multiple times a day.
“In the crack of the bed.”
This opening in the space and time continuum does not occur when we are adults since we tend to place our big beds in the middle of the master bedroom. We forget that vast abyss created by a twin bed pushed against a wall and the resulting “crack in the bed” that is host to treasures or horrors depending on what kid contraband can fit there.
I remember I used to store snacks there like a hibernating squirrel. By the time I’d remember them, they were pretty much unfit for human consumption, but the ants appreciated my efforts. I’d stash away books, flashlights, the recent Mad magazine that I didn’t want my little sister messing up. It was the very best place to hide the Halloween candy, too.
But it could also be a very scary place. If I had happened on something particularly frightening by 7-year-old standards like an exceptionally poignant ABC After School Special, well, then there would be trouble. At night when my imagination was at its most precocious, I’d picture all sorts of monsters and aliens just lying in wait until I closed my eyes to emerge from the crack. Although Guinness never officially recorded it, I know I must have held the world record for the longest period of time without blinking.
But the absolute worst was when the crack would threaten to swallow you whole. If that twin mattress was slightly askew, a black hole would open up and I would be trapped between two worlds -- or simply wedged against my Shaun Cassidy poster I got from Tiger Beat all night. Which perhaps wasn’t the worst fate imaginable.
I don’t remember when the crack in the bed disappeared -- probably when my room was rearranged -- but it was funny how fast the recall came once I was reminded.
And now I won’t have to ask the location of my son’s shoes so often.
Tracey Henry, Suburban Diva
[That's Shaun Cassidy on the cover of Tiger Beat]