After two years of dating, Jen and I move in together. My lease was up and her place is bigger and closer to both of our offices, so it makes sense.
We finish unpacking late and collapse into bed. “Hey,” I say, our noses touching. “Since I officially live here now, can I be honest about one thing?”
“Sure,” she says, apprehensive.
“Your mattress has always been a little firm for me. Maybe we could get one of those things you put on top?”
She stands, digs into the back of her closet, pulls out a rolled-up sheet of foam. “Like this?”
“Exactly,” I say, letting out a relieved laugh. “I was worried this was going to become a whole thing. This is amazing. You are amazing.”
We remove the sheets and she unrolls the blue memory foam topper. It’s a foot short on all sides, but she says we have to give it time to expand. I watch it grow before my eyes, stretching at all four corners as the air awakens it. There is an indentation on one side. A large crater crudely resembling a body in the simplest form, like the silhouette on a Men’s Restroom placard. It’s six and a half feet tall, wide as well.
“Oh,” she says, noticing me staring. “My ex, Todd, said the same thing about my mattress, so we used this together. Sorry. This is weird. I didn’t realize it would still have that impression. Let’s get rid of this and get a new topper tomorrow.”
“No, no, it’s fine,” I say. “We both have rich and varied pasts, and that’s all well and good. You have exes, I have exes. I feel no jealousy or competition with Todd. In fact, I thank him for breaking in this great foam topper for me.”
She smiles, relieved. We put the sheets back on, and I kiss her goodnight and lay down in the deep Todd-shaped crevasse. I float loose in his massive indent, a boy in his father’s suit. But the most apparent feature isn’t its height or width or depth at the chest or legs; it’s that as I lay on my stomach, my penis swings free in the air like a drawstring bridge severed on one side. It hangs loose, penis and scrotum pulled by gravity towards the floor in the void left by Todd’s Pringles-can piece; no resistance, no support. It’s as if a hole has been carved through the mattress; his huge and heavy penis bore a tunnel through this foam that the topper could never forget. Face-down in Todd’s snow angel, I picture his fat meat. I do not sleep.
“Thanks for getting me to bring that topper out,” Jen says as she steps into the light of the kitchen. “I slept so well.”
I force a smile. I’ve been sitting here for three hours after giving up on sleep last night, haunted by visions of Todd’s rod, like a can of tennis balls. “I actually didn’t love it. Maybe we find a different one?”
“I thought you liked that it was broken in? It was perfect for me.”
“Yeah, well, what isn’t perfect for you?” I snipe. “I tend to have higher standards.” The lack of sleep and uncontestable proof of my physical inferiority have soured me.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she says, staring me down with the fridge door open.
I roll my eyes. “Maybe I need a more high quality sleeping experience than Todd did.”
“Are you serious? What happened to we both have rich and varied pasts? Jesus. I let you move in here and am planning a future with you despite your inability to father a child, so I think I’m being pretty charitable here, pal, and don’t deserve the tantrum you’re throwing.”
I fold my arms, look away. She hit the nuclear button and there’s nothing I can say. We went to the fertility doctor together a month ago and found out my sperm count is too low to have a child. Jen wept in the office.
She says she has to go to work, and I do, too, and we both get ready and leave without speaking.
For days I’m in rough shape. I force myself into Todd’s dent each night, but I get no sleep. My penis and ballsack droop into his thick memory and I cannot get comfortable. Swinging in his gap like a thin jungle vine.
On night three I give up, taking my pillow to the couch. I lay on my stomach and consider moving out, feeling my penis and nuts smush against cushion like they’re supposed to. Full-body contact, all me, no bear-hug from Todd. I tell myself I’m happy. I tell myself this feels right. But after three hours I’m no closer to sleep. The pressure on my hose and beans is uncomfortable. Maybe even painful. What am I doing? Why am I dragging out this fight? What’s the point?
I crawl back into our bed. Jen stirs and I whisper that I’m sorry. She kisses my nose and I fall back into Todd’s embrace, rolling onto my stomach to let my penis and sack droop loose into the cave eroded by Todd’s two-liter cock. Accepting reality, I sleep soundly.
Feeling rested and vigorous and wanting some joy, I return to the fertility doctor alone during lunch. He tests my sample and enters the room beaming. “Your sperm count is through the roof,” he says, baffled. “Did you change something about your lifestyle? It’s almost like there’s no pressure whatsoever on your testicles for eight hours a day.”
Nine months from that day, our son, Todd, is born.
Each night as I roll onto my stomach and let my reedy pecker and little nuts drip down into the void, I say a prayer thanking the big guy who’s always got my back, my saint with the Pringles-can piece.