My apartment looks like Charles Foster Kane’s storage room. Boxes are opened only to unfold into a smaller puzzle like some Russian nesting doll out of control. The globe and the flag are still contained, waiting for the rightful spot. It was the bed that caused the most concern. Ignoring my repeated pleas to keep it intact, the movers decided to disassemble it.
It sounds silly, I know, but the bed as it was had a history that I didn’t want to interrupt. Russell had bought it for me when I moved out of his house and into my swinging bachelor pad on the beach. It was a troublesome thing with many loose parts that had been lost over the years and through several moves.
When Billy and I settled into the house in Venice, we erected it as we did in our New York apartment, and it seemed to have weathered the reinstallation. One night we were really going at it, you know, in a good way, and the bed collapsed. We busted out in giggles and after we were finished, we took apart the frame and left the mattress on the floor for the night.
“I’m gonna make sure that doesn’t happen again!” Billy had a new goal; “Project Bed” he called it. He lugged in his tool kit and with O-rings, super glue and a complex network of screws and nails, the bed was rock solid the next night.
“Go ahead. Jump on it,” he waited, hands on hips and foot tapping.
With that challenge, he leapt on the bed and spread his arms. “Come on! Try it.”
I felt giddy silly and body slammed him, knocking the wind out of him. We rolled around on it and finally gave it a test drive. From the day on, it never broke again.
We’d be lying in bed, watching TV and he’d say, “I did a good job on the bed, you know.” He said it at random and would repeat it for years to follow.
“I know. You are a very good handyman. Why do you think I keep you around?”
“Cause you love me.”
“Oh yeah. That too.”
So, when I saw Billy’s work in pieces, it was losing one more element that was steadfast in our lives. Dave, the mover, apologized up and down as he was putting it back together. After he was finished, he said, “There. It’s more solid than before.”