Love Is A Four-Poster Bed
Some of you have noticed that I’ve been on sort of a hiatus lately. The good news in this is that I’ve had some odd luck on the book front sales wise, and it’s forced me to kick writing the next one into high gear. I’ve had the basic outline for the second book in my mind for a while, but hadn’t really decided in which direction I wanted to take the plot. So far the feedback from book one tells me that the natural progression of this series into book two is going to have to include more romance. All I can say to that is….
People, I just may be the most non-romantic woman ever to have walked the face of the earth. Crafting an entire novel based on romance poses huge obstacles for me, as I have almost no point of reference. There are others who write this sort of thing much better than I do, like fellow blogger Sandylikeabeach or the great Edward Hotspur. Sadly, the “woo words” as EH likes to call them don’t seem to come to me as easily as they do others. But just like learning any new language, the key is to utilize opportunities to flex your language muscles and apply your new words to parts of your world as they relate to you. So instead of purple prose I give you romance as seen through my lens of life, and what I see in front of me is a lathe and a four-poster bed.
Growing up among “moderately legal” immigrants in south Florida offered little in the way of employment opportunities, so the women in my family were relegated to the humble position of cleaning ladies. Every Saturday we’d all take the bus into Palm Beach to clean the mansions of the fabulously rich and famous. Since I was the youngest and smallest it fell to me to make the beds, which was the one chore I hated most. I would rather have scrubbed toilets than be forced to strip and make the beds of other little girls who had their own room, bed, toys, etc.
What I remember most was how massive and ornate the beds were, and how it seemed to me like all the furniture had been dipped in gold, even the picture frames that lined the walls. But only the walls in the foyer, as I never saw a single picture on a flat surface. I remember thinking what a waste it was for rich people to have these huge, gold nightstands with no pictures of loved ones on them to kiss goodnight. At least that’s what I thought until we got a new family to clean for and I had a new bed to make.
Even though this new bed wasn’t as grand or as ornate as the other beds I’d made, to me it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. It was a simple four-poster wood bed with thin posts and an impossibly high canopy. I remember that first day hopping up onto the bed just so I could look up at the gauzy white fabric that draped over the top of the canopy and hung down the sides. As much as I loved the bed what made the biggest impression on me were all the photos that lined both nightstands of a smiling young couple posing together. In that instant I equated true love with that four-poster bed.
Fast forward to this summer, and me in my barn clearing out years of accumulated junk and treasures in order to set up a workshop for myself. The last thing I found was an old woodworker’s lathe, the kind that’s used to turn table legs or stair balusters. The image of the lathe forced an image of the bed from my memory, which then joined the vision of a now empty barn and in an instant I’d felt lonelier than I’d ever imagined possible; because it occurred to me that what I’d wanted more than anything in the world was someone to share that space with, and someone to share that bed with. Expressing myself romantically isn’t a skill I’ve developed, so it hasn’t been easy to find a man who can relate to someone like me. Someone who understands that I’m the type of woman who feels uneasy saying “I love you” every five seconds and who enjoys simply existing quietly alongside the man she loves. Someone who doesn’t make me feel compelled to fill the air with empty reassurances; who knows in his heart that because I choose to be with him at all is reason enough to trust my love and that the proof of it is found within the silence itself.
I know it’s not poetry, but for what it’s worth this is what romance means to me.