The day my favourite pillow … died

Pillow and I had been in a happy, loving, committed relationship for a long, long time. Last weekend, Pillow was murdered in cold blood, by a killer with a cold heart, using a 15-minute cold-wash cycle. My wife.

Pillow and I had been in a happy, loving, committed relationship for a long, long time…Credit:Mike Baker

It happened on Sunday morning while I was in the shower: she went into the bedroom, stole Pillow from my side of the bed, dragged it to the laundry, then drowned it in water and suds until it had transformed into a lumpy clumpy sack of pillowy porridge.

And as a final barbaric act, she hung poor Pillow from a laundry-room clothes rack – which is where I found it, swinging gently in the breeze of a heater-duct. Carrying its limp, soggy body in my arms, I confronted the pillow-killer: “What have you done?” I yelled. “WHY DID YOU WASH MY PILLOW?”

My wife showed no remorse, no compassion: “Because it was disgusting. It was a dirty pillow.”

“No!” I howled with despair. “It wasn’t dirty! It was just … worn in!”

Then I lay Pillow on the ground and tried to pump water out of its cottony chest using cardiopillowmonary-resuscitation: 1 2, 3, 4, 5! 1,2 3, 4,5!

But it was too late; Pillow would not spring back to life. Pillow could not be saved. Pillow had perished.

So I gave it a dignified burial outside, tossing it in the red bin. I then wondered if it was recyclable and transferred it to the yellow bin. Then I second-guessed myself and chucked it back in the red bin. Bin colours confuse me.

Over the course of a lifetime, a person only meets one or two pillows that truly feel compatible, that connect on a deep and intimate level – and Pillow and I had that connection. It slept with me every night, cradling my head in a soft wispy cloud of love, accepting all my secretions and smells and skin cast-offs – it was probably more “me” than “pillow”.

It was always there for me in the tough times, comforting me through nightmares and illnesses and that ongoing neck-strain thing when I really needed the support. It even let me fold it in half for extra elevation. Not many pillows would be up for a half-fold but Pillow was willing to experiment in the bedroom. Pillow was pretty special.

Not proud to admit it but I’d slept with other pillows, sure. You know, those lonely nights on the road when you just need somewhere to lay your head. But they were all one-night-stands; there was no emotional spark. An overstuffed hotel pillow that was like sleeping on the bloated belly of an IBS sufferer. A chemically-fragranced motel pillow that gave me a face rash – it didn’t understand me, couldn’t relate to my Omo-sensitivity. An AirBnb memory foam pillow that I’d completely forgotten about the next morning; it didn’t mean a thing.

No, Pillow was The One. It can never be replaced: it read my thoughts, it listened to my dreams. This week I’ve been forced to sleep with Emergency Cupboard Pillow but it’s old and hard and smells of lavender and empty promises.

Last night I kicked it off the bed and just lay flat on my back like a corpse on an autopsy table awaiting a coroner. And as I lay there, I reminisced about my life with Pillow, while the pillow-killer slept peacefully right beside me.

I couldn’t even bring myself to look at her. I had to hide her face behind a huge prison wall of scrunched-up doona.

Danny Katz is a regular columnist.

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