Since I started teaching, I have been staying in one of the quaint staff houses for the faculty and staff of the university. The unit I am currently occupying, with the technical staff of the Division of Humanities, far from being grand, only has the most basic furniture: a bamboo bench, an old table salvaged from the cafeteria, a rocking chair, and a white monobloc chair. It also has a 14-inch television, a rice-cooker, and two personal computers. Aside from my books and my students’ unchecked papers scattered around the house, my place is virtually empty.
I forgot to mention that there are two beds in the house. One, used by my housemate, has a thick mattress. Mine, on the other hand, lacks anything to make it the least comfortable. My bed is more of an extension of my table. On it are my unwashed tees and pants, old receipts, and books I’m already done reading.
Every evening, I would sleep wherever my body ended up collapsing from exhaustion, most of the time on the un-padded, stern bamboo bench. The length of which is only three-fourths of my height. But eventually my body got used to the unforgiving hardness of the bamboo bench and the unnatural position it inadvertently forces my body to follow.
I never looked for something comfortable, having been used to sleep on hard plywood covered with nothing or barely-there thin mattress when I started college. Until yesterday, when my back began complaining. I lifted my sling bag containing my laptop when my backbone seemed to have creaked. I knew it was a sign that I have never been kind to myself.
So for the first time, after seven years, I bought a matress and two fluffy pillows for my bed this afternoon. And tonight, for the first time, after seven years, I learned to appreciate the importance of having a comfortable bed.