My Journey to the Middle of the Bed

Elizabeth Park
3 min readAug 28, 2022

It’s further than it looks

woman lying on mattress on floor, head on pillow
Photo by cottonbro:

This time of year, years ago, I moved into my first “home” with my then-husband. It was an A-frame at a camp in North Carolina.

We were newlyweds, fresh off a terrible honeymoon on Anna Maria Island. I love the island, but it was a rough week. **

I felt a sense of dread as we pulled into the driveway, strong and bizarre enough that I still remember it. It didn’t make sense. I was thrilled to be married. My body knew things my mind would not understand for a long time.

I was proud of unpacking quickly, getting the place to feel like home. He bragged about it to his parents.

We started working less than a week after the wedding.

He picked the side of the mattress he wanted. He did that in every single place we lived. He never asked which side I wanted.

Years passed. We got divorced. He had already moved on to his new person before I knew that he wanted out.

I remember how empty the bed felt. I started letting the dog up on the couch. I can’t remember if I let him on the bed, but probably I did.

But I do know that I stayed on my own side.


Habit. But not just habit.

Hope. Hope that there would be someone else there, VERY SOON.

Part of me was aware of how trapped I had felt. My most private self had often wondered if I could find someone else, if he ever died. Divorce wasn’t really an option in my religion.

At first, I thought it would happen fast. After all, I deserved it. I had been faithful, worked hard, been present, taken care of myself,

Women had stories of finding good men after bad marriages. Surely, I would be one of them.

I stayed on my side of the bed.

Occasionally one of the girls would join me after a nightmare or during a storm.

I went on the occasional date.

No one ever made it to the stage where we could share a bed.

No one ever darkened that side of the bed.

Elizabeth Park

Life coach for the spiritually dehydrated, survivors of narcissistic abuse, and neurodivergent