the mattress

“I’m getting a mattress,” she said, smiling shyly. The pretty young student moved upstairs two weeks ago and has hardly any furniture at all. “I can’t afford a new one, so I’m buying one used.”

I remembered when Tawny, who worked with me at the paint store, started work at the rent to own store instead. And her stories, gleefully told, of maggots in couches and roaches in beds.

“You can’t see them so ya gotta be careful,” she admonished me when I ran into her at the diner one day. As if at any minute I would race to a rent to own store to buy some dirty couch.

I didn’t tell the pretty graduate student any of this. Just:

“Ask them to flip it over.”