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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

A Fitting End To Quest for Double Bed

After all these years, now that it's over, I can tell the story.


When I moved back to Moscow I started looking for a double bed. I didn't care how much it would cost; sleeping in a single bed back in the city of my childhood, I feared I would regress to the point of total helplessness. There were no double beds. People gave me advice: Order one from Denmark. Have one built. The fewer options you have, the more advice you are likely to hear. I finally got a third-hand custom-built imitation futon frame with an imitation futon. This strictly temporary solution lasted a couple of years.


About a year ago my girlfriend and I moved to a new apartment. The imitation futon frame was used for parts in the remont of the old one. A new tour of the furniture stores showed that now for $5,000 you could have a hideous Italian contraption along with 12 other pieces that would never fit in a Moscow apartment -- not that the bed would. And there was the American furniture store that felt like the back of a giant truck and offered furniture at prices I fear to cite. Meanwhile, we were sleeping on a broken Romanian corduroy-covered "one-and-a-half sleeper." And on the brink of breaking up.


One day last December I wandered into a furniture store and discovered not one but two fairly inoffensive double beds for about 2 million rubles each. They were ugly in such a plain way that some black paint would have taken care of it. I asked to use the phone so I could consult my partner on whether to buy the one with the gold detail or the one with the multicolored corduroy. After no more than a minute's discussion, the store staff began to rush me to hang up.


"I'm not planning to sleep in that double bed alone!" I snapped and continued until we settled on the one with the gold detail. I paid for the bed and the delivery and went home elated.


That night a friend called to say she had found a bed for me. The son of a former Soviet ambassador to Britain had to move his late father's furniture out of a warehouse and wanted to let us have a gorgeous Karelian-birch double bed for the price of arranging the move. The prospect of painting over the gold details on that Belarussian-made bed suddenly seemed impossibly bleak. But I'd already bought it.


The next day, however, the bed never showed up. At the end of the day I called the store. "Ohmigod," a young woman gasped. "I put your delivery slip in the wrong pile. Shall we deliver it tomorrow?"


"Out of the question," I said sternly. "I needed that bed for one night. Tomorrow it will be useless." Probably flashing back to my promise not to sleep alone, the woman agreed to refund my money.


Another couple of months passed before we got the ambassador's bed home and discovered that the parts that connected it all together were gone. For eight months we slept on the mattress on the floor, with the headboard and the footboard leaning against the wall. Finally this summer I arranged to have the missing parts welded at a rail-making factory. We have the heaviest but most beautiful bed in Moscow. The problem is, we might move again.





Masha Gessen is a staff writer for Itogi.