The Secret History of Dorm Room Beds

by Meg Zulch

Courtesy of

In small college dorm rooms,
where the square footage of space is sometimes hardly enough
to contain your own body


Your small twin bed serves as the center of your world
where you sleep, eat, fuck, cry, and talk.


As you transition into adulthood and life with a college degree,
the only piece of furniture to your name,
the only property you have full access to,
is this dorm bed.


And so the history of you,
the journey through your formative university years
are practically written in these very sheets,
sheets you admittedly don't wash very often.
Mostly because it documents many firsts, turning points,
a place where you can wrap yourself up in comfort.


It is here that you had sex for the first time,
got drunk with your best friend for the first time,
kissed who you thought would be your first serious boyfriend,
smoked a bowl with the first girl you ever dated,
where you first perfected winged eyeliner,

You sat here,
nervously gripping your blanket and phone
as you told your dad you like girls

You sat here as you conducted your first interviews for real-world publications,
when you interviewed for your first paid writing job

You laid here, beside your partner post sex, and said, “I love you”,
for the first time ever

You've sweat out fevers, and stayed here all day with bad hangovers and mono

It's here where you masturbated when you thought your roommate was asleep
here, you hid under your blankets and chose to lose yourself in Woody Allen movies rather than your own consuming anxiety

Here, you laughed when a boy you weren't interested in asked if he could cuddle you.
"Like a child" you remember.
You scoffed at him and told him never to ask something like that again

It's here where you discovered the importance of asking,

Here, where you were assaulted by a controlling and untrustworthy partner

It's here where you cried over a broken heart

This is where you escaped to during a show at the student center,
cried into your best friend's arms over all the anxiety he sympathized with
and all the pain that you wouldn't share with him until years later

Here, where you've had the epiphanies:
that you deserve better,

that you must take action,

that everything will be okay,

that the world is more open than you thought


You lay here,
in the ghosts of sweat and cum stains
among the weed nugs
stray food crumbs and rogue hair ties
a pair of panties tangled around your bedpost,
and despair over the idea of leaving such a relic of your growth

and pain behind when you graduate in May.

These sheets will be packed away soon, even thrown out.
These pillows will be replaced with fluffier ones,
the blankets discarded since they only fit twin beds.
This bed will be taken apart,
put back together again,
and somebody new will laugh and cry and eat in this bed,

just as you had.


Much of its history will be forgotten,
but you will be reminded in little ways throughout your life,
here and there,
when you see off white bed sheets and twin beds that are too tall to climb into comfortably,
you'll smile at the memory of watching porn and eating vegan pizza with your best friend
in a bed that looks just like this.


You'll sometimes remember that your adult self was born in this bed
but mostly you will forget,
moving on in the world a wiser and more fulfilled person
whose past baggage was unloaded
and left behind in a small and cheaply made fitted sheet
that you bought from Target freshman year of college.