waterbed draining


Sharing Stories
September 17, 2023 at 7:25 a.m.
Waterbeds can be gorgeous as well as comfortable!
Waterbeds can be gorgeous as well as comfortable!

...by April Ryan



I remember as far back as the first grade, blushing and being embarrassed if the teacher announced something was missing, or broken, or lost. I was afraid the teacher would think it was me. It wasn’t. I was a kid that blushed easily. Oh, there were times I deserved to blush when I was naughty, but most of the time my face was just like a flashing red light. After many red-faced years, Mom told me during a fit of laughter, “I hope you never need to take a lie detector test because blushing makes you look guilty.” I guess I finally got old enough to break my blusher, but there are still sneaky times feeling my cheeks burn a red-hot glow, guilty or innocent.

It was the late 1970’s, when I moved into a friend’s empty house. Needing a lot of repairs is a polite way of saying it was on the verge of being a condemned building, but I had roommates from work upstairs, and the basement was mine with my little dog Ratso. I celebrated our basement space by buying a waterbed, being a modern, independent working woman at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. The 5th Dimension sang about harmony and understanding. Luckily, the waterbed store guy delivered and set up the bed, putting the heater in just the right spot, he used the new requested garden hose I had bought at Ernest Hardware to fill it up. The bed was warm in winter, cool in summer, softly rocking Ratso and me to sleep.

Life was good. I was searching for that Aquarius harmony and understanding. My life was changing with a new job, and I found a little house to move into closer to work. A homey nest for Ratso, the waterbed, and me.

I went to the waterbed store to learn how to empty the water. The man told me to use the garden hose and waterbed kit I got when the bed was delivered. Oh, I immediately had a memory of Dad telling me how thieves would steal gasoline from cars by using tubing, like a hose, in the gas tank. Then sucking until gas touched their lips, draining the gas into a bucket or can.

I prepared the thirty-foot hose, stretched outside as the salesman advised, sat in a chair, and sucked until I turned blue, almost passing out. After several tries, I decided the hose was too long, so I drove to Sears for a two-foot wash machine hose. I put it in the waterbed and sucked the magically short hose. Nothing. Not even a drop.

Off I went to the waterbed store, telling the salesman my dilemma. I had tried to suck a thirty-foot hose, then a two-foot hose, but the water wasn’t draining. He looked at me like I had landed on earth from another planet. He explained I needed to hook the hose up to the outside water tap, turn on the water, then detach the hose from the tap, letting the hose siphon the water out of the bed into the yard. I felt my cheeks burning an “I'm-so-embarrassed red.”

That bed lasted almost another twenty years, filled and emptied expertly during a number of life changing moves. Each time I remembered the waterbed salesman being such a gentleman, not laughing at my hose technique and embarrassment.

April Ryan, author of April Blossoms has written numerous stories and poems, including some prize winners and many for Northwest Prime Time.

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