Tonight I left home and headed to my usual coffee place: Diurno. It has been raining all day and Madrid felt cool, wet.
On the way over, I saw a mattress. On the street. With a stain. Propped against the trash containers.
It caught my eye immediately.
A mattress outside its natural habitat is a visual abomination. It challenges your sensibilities.
Why is it there? Well, that question is not really as important as: What is it doing there?
We seek an answer to a strange question because of the horror that an abandoned mattress causes us.
Perhaps it was not abandoned. Perhaps it was discarded. And we can't help but wonder about the cause.
The owner moved home. Or, worse, died.
That red stain near the edge, resembling a wound to the shoulder; or the heart.
Perhaps the owner bought a new one. No, that can't be right. Because when they deliver the new one they take the old one with them. But not this time. This mattress is there because it is no longer needed.
But it isn't something you can give away. Who'd want an old stained mattress? And yet, surely someone, somewhere, would like it. Would take it and use it.
I remember reading long ago that in the past, when someone died, their mattress, or their whole bed, would be thrown out. In most cases, burnt. Thrown into the fire.
Perhaps not those of the poor, only the beds of those with money, and mattresses, to burn.
A sort of cleansing perhaps?
So, to see such a personal item just thrown out is, was, disturbing.