Tanning the Mattress

Photo ©: niakc10 - Fotolia.com
Photo ©: niakc10 – Fotolia.com

The minute he woke with a start, Dike felt a sense that something was wrong. He had wet the bed in his sleep. He did not wake up to the usual gentle shake from his mother, he woke up to the wetness underneath him which felt both familiar and strange at the same time. He had not wet his bed consistently in six months and his mother believed that he had stopped. As quickly as he could, he changed from his clothes and put the wet clothes under his bed. He pulled up his mattress and balanced it against the wooden door seperating his room from the noise in the corridor. Then he pulled out several blankets from the box which his mother kept under the bed and opened them up. Dike worked quickly, glancing at the door every few seconds.

The blankets lay thinly on the bed frame; a makeshift mattress. He touched a spot. While it felt flat; like the one in the sick bay at the Grammar school, it did not smell like antiseptic and vitamin pills. It smelt of camphor and ammonia, the smells from the days when he could not drink water at dinner lest he wet his bed.

It was lucky that he had become a teenager who insisted on privacy only recently. His mother did not bother him most mornings. Dike just wished the clouds away.

Now in his class, it felt like the entire school knew the secret of the mattress which he put in the sun before the walk to school, a mattress which he was keen on returning before his mother saw it at sunset. When the bell indicated the end of classes, he ran ahead of his mother and his classmates, urging himself to go faster, wishing he could band together with his feet. His blue plastic sandals beat out a rhythm on the earth, raising orange dust as he fled the thick cloud which rose and chased him down the path.

Word Count: 333

Written for this week’s Trifextra Writing Challenge:

“…to gather together : unite
Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
The word itself needs to be included in your response.
You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
This week’s word is band.”


  1. Gina

    Awwwww! I feel for this kid! Trying to spare his mother the work or frustration or sadness. And for him, the humiliation. I liked this story!

    Thanks for linking up this week!

    1. Anne Chia

      Thanks Gina,those are all the emotions I tried to capture. I liked how he took responsibility and tried to save his mother from seeing it. Thanks for reading and commenting

  2. Kir Piccini

    As a mom of a 5yr old who is still having some bed wetting issues, this piece really made me think and ponder how he feels about it when it happens.
    He is my ‘worrier’ son and when he wakes up with a wet overnight diaper I know that bothers him.. So I felt for this boy/man who is still having accidents.

    So many deeper stories on between.. That’s what I liked about this.

    Thank you for linking up this week.

    1. Anne Chia

      Bed wetting is never an easy situation to deal with,especially for the children. Like you said, there are all sorts of deep issues therein. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. jannatwrites

    My seven-year-old has occasional issues with this. I can’t imagine how it would feel as a teen, trying to cover it up and hide it. Like the second appearance of the blue sandals 🙂

  4. KymmInBarcelona

    Love how you captured the mixture of infancy and maturity – his determination to deal with the mattress is surely his best foot into resolution.
    Terrific voice, too.

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