Y was one of the first boys I dated in the city.
I liked him well enough, I guess. He wasn’t particularly sweet, but he wasn’t an asshole either. I never exactly had fun with him, but I wasn’t having a negative experience. The sex wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad either.
Listen, I’d only been in the city a few months, give me a break.
After a particularly neutral date, Y came over to sleep at my place. I never understood why he was insistant on staying at my place when his place was inarguably nicer, and he had a real bed versus my air mattress on the bare hardwood floor. All he same, he wanted to come see my place, and I obliged.
And yes, for the record, I know how tragic it is that I was sleeping on an air mattress on the floor. I barely had the money to move to New York, and when I got a job I barely had the money to move into my apartment and pay rent every month. I made $10 an hour in retail, and I’d spent the better part of two months before that couch surfing. I was roughing it.
So Y and I went out to dinner, then went for a walk, then got back to my place and had sex. When I woke up, something was wrong: I could feel the hardwood floor beneath me. The mattress deflated under us.
Now, I’m no “Princess and the Pea,” but we were literally sleeping on a piece of rubber on the floor. It was hard not to notice.
I pretended it happened all the time, so he wouldn’t feel self-conscious, and he left for work. When I reinflated the mattress, there was a hole in the side. I tried to fix it with the glue the air mattress kit provided, then I tried putting tape over that—nothing worked. Finally, I went to the corner bodega, got a pack of gum, chewed a piece up, and clogged the hole. When it dried, it kept the air from escaping, and I could feel at ease while sleeping again. (It also smelled like Winterfresh.)
The following week, Y wanted to come over again. And, again, we woke up on the floor.
I checked the side—the gum was still intact. After further investigation, I found a second hole in the other side.
I stopped seeing Y—not because he kept breaking my air mattress, but because the chemistry just wasn’t there. (Re: The sex was too blasé, even if it did deflate the only furniture I owned.) Regardless, I called my dad and begged him to send me the money to buy a real mattress. I still put it on the floor, but that first night was the best sleep of my life.