There's a leak in the corner of my bedroom, on the ceiling, near the back left corner of my bed. It started as a small yellow spot in the drywall. I used to lay in bed and look up at it. There was a little spot when I first moved in. Was it bigger now? I wasn't sure.
Eventually I was sure. After a heavy rain, the spot had spread. First an inch, then three. I told my landlord, who has always been responsive about repairs. I didn't hear anything for a while; he was traveling, we had dry weather. I kept looking upwards, observing its edges, wondering what it looked like underneath. How many layers must there be before my little wet spot? What is soaking up there? Where is the rest of the water going? Nowhere good.
Weeks later, a single drop broke though and the paint started to peel. I put a cup down and texted my landlord. I was given the number of the roofer and told he would call. A week later, he hadn't, I called him. He would stop by. Tell me when, I'll be home. 3 days later, a card left on the door. No call. The day before a rainstorm.
After the weekend I looked up as the paint peeled back. Water began to drip. I put a plastic container down, the water was murky and gray. Flakes of paint and plaster collected in the corner. Drywall began to crumble.
I called again. I stopped by, he told me. I need notice, George, I need you to ring the bell. I need you to help me help you help me. I'll call you later this week. He didn't.
Earlier this week it rained hard. I prepared myself for a change in the spot and my relationship. It's been thinking about getting into bed with me. I've been feeling it. That peeled section has looked precarious for days. I can hear it steadily now, a drip every 20 seconds. Distant but insistent. For two days after each heavy rain.
Last night before I went to sleep, I turned out the light. 2 minutes later I got up and moved my bed, first a few inches, then almost a foot out of the corner.
I awoke in the middle of the night. A few crumbs on the pillow next to me. I looked up for my hesitant lover, slowly peeling themselves open for me. But the flap I'd come to know was gone, shattered into the corner.
I felt a surge of delight. I'd known! I'd prevented disaster. I'd moved my bed! I brushed off the crumbs and went back to sleep.
I called George again. He says he'll come this week. He still won't give me a time. George, I think your time is up.
When is it time for me to understand that preventing disaster is taking care of a little spot, not knowing how to move my bed before the plaster falls into my face?