My summer boyfriend kept a coffin in his bedroom

Tracey Folly

*this is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand

That's not the only reason our relationship was temporary.

It was a summer romance in every sense of the word.

We met the same month I graduated from high school, and we dated until the tail end of August. Our relationship took place over three exhilarating, exciting, confusing, awful months that I wish had never happened, but at least my summer fling gave me plenty of stories to tell.

He was devastatingly handsome, and that's where his good qualities began and ended. Other than his good looks, he had nothing to offer. That didn't matter, at the time. His good looks were enough for me, at least in the beginning.

The apartment he shared with friends lacked air conditioning. It was sweltering in the summer heat. His apartment was located on the third floor of an old Victorian house. Being on the third floor made it hotter still. To make matters worse, his personal living quarters were a literal crawlspace in the attic.

His tiny attic crawlspace compartment had no window. What it had was a child-sized coffin tucked into the corner against the wall.

I would have preferred a window.

Can you keep a coffin in your bedroom? What kind of person would do that, right? A person who's really into death and vampires? Or someone who was born to be a mortician? Or just the guy I dated the year I turned eighteen.

Since the only light that illuminated the "room" filtered in through the dim hallway, I never saw the coffin clearly. Nonetheless, I saw it clearly enough to confirm that it was indeed a coffin. If I had to guess based on my limited view and equally limited memory, I'd say it was empty and unused.

What kind of person has an empty and unused child-sized coffin in the corner of their bedroom/attic crawlspace? I have no idea--but I dated him.

He told me the coffin's original occupant was still inside, but I never saw any evidence of that.

I've always assumed it was empty because I've always thought the heat of the attic would have accelerated the rot and decay of the coffin's alleged occupant. If that were the case, I'd expect the area to smell. It didn't, not really.

Although the small space smelled of heat and dirty sweat socks, there was nothing in the air to indicate a dead and decaying body lying in repose against the wall, sealed coffin notwithstanding.

I know this is a strange story, but it's more than just a story. It's a part of my dating history. When you've been dating long enough, you accumulate experiences. This was certainly an experience.

We didn't break up due to his living conditions; we didn't so much break up as fizzle out.

I was busy with work and friends, too busy to notice he hadn't been around for a while.

In the meantime, he moved out of the attic crawlspace and into another woman's apartment across town.

I never found out whether he brought the coffin with him, but I doubt it matched his new love interest's aesthetic.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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