The Master Bedroom in Minneapolis

Throughout my teens and twenties, my period would happen with the suddenness and force of a flash flood. The first two days in particular seemed to each produce a 2 litre bottle’s worth of blood. There were days when I would put on a fresh Always overnight pad before getting on the bus for school and during that half-hour ride would overflow and stain my Jnco jeans. I usually kept an extra pair in my locker.

I exclusively wore overnight pads, which I called “diaper pads.” And during those prolific first 48hours, I usually folded several layers of toilet paper on top of the pad, securing it by wrapping more toilet paper around the whole thing: the folded toilet paper layer, and the diaper pad, and my underwear. This method would usually get me through a fifty-minute class without any incident.

As I mentioned, my period was sudden and forceful. It was hard to predict because it would sometimes show up only 10 or 15 days after the last one ended. I was starting my period every twenty to twenty-five days about. And it lasted for seven to ten days. The only thing reliable about her was that she’d show up for our anniversary every fourth of July.

She liked to make a grand entrance, and usually while I was asleep.

I’ve always been a gifted sleeper. Even now at thirty-two years old, I need between 9 and 10 hours of sleep every day. As a teenager I easily slept twelve hours a day. But on the first couple days of my period, I would sleep for up to fifteen hours.

And it would be after one of these 13, 14, or 15 hour sleeps that I would wake up to find a total menstrual explosion in my bed. My mom asked me to start sleeping on top of towels, so whenever I thought I might start my period I tried to put a towel down. But lots of times, I just wasn’t prepared.

I’ve had period explosions in my sleep at my Grandmother’s house, spending the night with guys when I was in college, and countless times in my own bed, but the best explosion happened the first day I woke up in Minneapolis.

I was twenty-three years old, had just graduated college, and had accepted a design job at Target headquarters. With my best friend Michelle along to help out with the move, I drove a 16 foot Penske truck from Savannah, Georgia all the way up to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I was exhausted from the 1,350 mile drive to my new apartment. This apartment was already home to my new, had-never-met-her-before roommate from Craigslist and her new, grey suede sofa.

That night I slept on the grey suede sofa, and when I woke up the next morning it looked like a puppy had been murdered on the center cushion.

I had to drop Michelle off at the airport that morning, so I didn’t have time to deal with my period explosion just yet. When I returned to the apartment, the stain was gone. At first I thought my roommate must have turned the cushion upside down, but there was no stain on any side of the cushion.

When my roommate walked into the living room I said, “Elizabeth, what happened to the stain on the couch?!”

She walked into the kitchen without making eye-contact and in her Minnesotan accent said, “What steen?”

“The giant blood stain that looked liked a puppy died,” I said. “I was going to clean it up. And if I couldn’t get the stain out, I was gonna get your sofa reupholstered or something.”

“Ooh nooo, it’s fain,” she said. She didn’t want to talk about it, but I kept on. I asked her how she got the stain out, how long it took, told her she shouldn’t have done that. But she politely insisted it was “fain.”

Realizing that I was living with someone so afraid of confrontation that she was gonna pretend she hadn’t just scrubbed my blood bomb out of her new furniture, I figured I could do probably anything and she’d never get real about it.

So I finally changed the subject and suggested that I take her room—which happened to be the master bedroom with the giant closet, huge shower and soaking tub—and in exchange pay two hundred dollars more than her in rent each month. This would actually work out to an increase of $100 for me and a decrease of $100 for her, which I did not explicitly explain. She nodded, said it was a good idea, but she had to go somewhere and couldn’t move her stuff out right then.

She left and soon my movers arrived to unload the Penske. And by “movers” I mean two men that I hired by calling a day labor service. And together we moved all of Elizabeth’s stuff out and into the empty bedroom, then unloaded my stuff from the Penske.

That night, July 2nd 2007, just two days from our 11th anniversary, me and my period slept in our new master bedroom.