Jenna Kowaleski: Coveting the world's best pillow
My husband brought this magnificent pillow into our marriage and we’ve been unable to find a pair.
DULUTH — My husband has the best pillow.
It has the perfect combination of squishiness, a soft cradle for one’s heavy head, and firmness, keeping one’s head aloft from the bed.
My husband brought this magnificent pillow into our marriage and we’ve been unable to find a pair. I have spent an embarrassing amount of money trying to find something of equal caliber. Pillows stuffed with bamboo, memory foam, feather and heaven-knows-what-else are bursting out of closets and from other beds, none of them meeting the requirements that this perfect pillow so perfectly and effortlessly meets.
Only recently have I given up on this pursuit, and am convinced that is the reason why a certain retail chain on Miller Hill has gone out of business.
I’ve accepted that they broke the mold the day they made this pillow. Some days, it’s the only thing that my husband and I agree on: We both love this pillow. (And our son.)
He doesn’t share.
In our almost decade-long marriage, I’ve tried sneaking it over to my side of the bed. I’ve tried disguising it in mundane pillowcases. I’ve tried everything. But my husband always figures it out and, alas, I do not get to sleep with the world’s best pillow.
Except for when my husband is out of town.
Last night, for the first time in a long time, I got to use the good pillow. I lay down and looked around. I knew he was gone on an adventure and that he wouldn’t be back until the next day, and yet, I peered down the hallway, just in case. I hadn’t been able to sleep with the good pillow, well, for years.
For a while there, I’d get to sleep with the good pillow at least once a month. Between work and play, both of us were coming and going, exploring the world, the country and our own backyard. We went to conferences and weddings and graduations and funerals. Sometimes we went together and sometimes we went on our own. And when he was away I’d miss him dearly — and steal his pillow.
I hadn’t realized how long it had been since we’d been apart until this (un)happy event where, for the first time in years, I was able to use his pillow.
So many of our lives were so unexpectedly upended by the last couple years, there were things that I hadn’t realized had stopped until they started up again.
There were so many big, obvious things, that the little things seemed have slipped by me. Trivial, and rightly so. Beyond notice or a second thought.
Whether we’re ready for it or not, for those of us lucky enough to have made it through the last couple of years with our health, our lives and those we love, the world is slipping back into its normal cadence.
The problems of before, if not exasperated by the last couple years, are at least still waiting for us. Things settling back into where they were, where they belong.
I realize that I’ve been lucky enough to have my husband beside me every day and pillow-hogging night over the past two years. We saw a lot of each other. We learned how to exist side by side without flying out the door to volunteer, camp, bike or hike with friends, work long hours, or travel long distances. We watched a lot of TV. We picked up painting together. We learned how to talk about nothing and the really heavy somethings. We learned how to survive together, side by side.
And, as I write this with a pain-free neck from a night on a well-constructed pillow, I miss my other half, and am impatient for him to come home. He’s the almost-perfect partner.
If only he’d share his pillow.
Jenna Kowaleski has called Duluth her home for over a decade. When she's not enjoying lake views from her house nestled on the hillside, she is exploring local trails with her husband, son and dog.