It's Just a Couch, Christine

A few weeks ago my husband and I not-so-gracefully hoisted the old fake-suede brown couch that had been in our room since we moved in down the stairs, out the front door, and to the curb, for garbage pick up the next day. There was some profanity, a lot of grunting, and a small indentation left on an upstairs wall- the struggle was brief, but it was real. When I went back up to take a shower I looked into the vast expanse and felt an overwhelming surge of sadness.

It's just a couch, Christine.

I tried to get excited about the space. Maybe some new chairs, a lamp, and an ottoman? Perfect by the window for reading! 

Or, EVEN BETTER, I could finally get a ping pong table? It's always blown my mind that in our decent-sized house there was no good space for ping pong. But now? Now there was space. 

But the couch was still gone. 

You see, this couch and I , we go way back. When Scott and I moved into our first apartment in 2005 this was the first piece of furniture we bought. While we had both lived in various dorm rooms (me), studio apartments (him), and bedrooms in family homes (both of us), this was our first real grown-up place. Our couch was part of our initial attempt to go to adult places like furniture stores and Home Depot to be mature individuals who do mature things like buy couches. 

We lived in that apartment for almost six years and that couch took up half of our living room. It's where Scott played video games for hours and hours, it's where I read and watched a lot of TLC, it's where we hung out with friends, it's where I did the work for my master's. It's where we took our engagement photo (self-timer, baby), it's where one of us would lick our wounds during fights while the other one of us was in the bedroom (it was a one room apartment), it's where I planned our wedding. We had no kitchen table, so that couch was it. 

When we moved into our home the couch went in our bedroom, since we needed a larger sectional to fill our new living room. The dogs, Cordie and Chomsky, IMMEDIATELY claimed it, which was amusing since they hand't been allowed on it when we lived in the apartment. And we let them. It transitioned overnight into the "dog couch," which it stayed until Chomsky passed away a few weeks ago. While it was in pretty spotless condition when we moved into the house, but seven years of dog use had left it hairy, splotchy, and just plain gross. But still, it was a constant. 

Almost immediately after Chomsky died I arranged for it to be picked up. There was just no way I could have the "dog couch" in our room when we were sadly without a dog to lay on it (or, in his case, lick it disgustingly in the middle of the night). But now that it's gone and we have this big, huge gaping hole in our bedroom (just like in our hearts), I miss it. It's a reminder of how the simpler times at the beginning of our relationship have past. That Cordie is gone. That Chomsky is gone. 

It's also an important reminder of how change is really hard for me. Sure, the couch is clearly symbolic of lot of really important things, but it's also a glaring example of how hard I fight disruptions in my life. My husband bought a subwoofer over the summer for the living room and I literally glared at it for weeks because of the "ruined aesthetic" of the room. Changes in my schedule? Irritation. Toilet paper on a new aisle in Target? Annoyed. iPhone iOS changes its interface? Maybe I'll just never upgrade my phone ever again. And yet I work so hard to "go with the flow" and "be a problem solver" that I then have to work doubly hard to harness my issues with change to maintain the level of flexibility and efficiency that I pride myself in having. 

It's just a couch, Christine. A thirteen-year-old couch with dried slobber marks and thirty-seven pounds of dog hair. A couch that smelled bad and wasn't even used by humans. A couch that was pretty cheap and was barely big enough for two people. 

It wasn't just a couch. 

1 comment:

  1. Definitely not just a couch. We has an old sectional that we got for free. It was our first couch! And free! My cat used the one arm as a scratching post. But it was free! Then we bought a house. Then we finally upgraded our furniture and the sectional was moved to the basement. My father in law wanted it.....then my basement flooded. We had to sadly haul this soggy couch out piece by piece. It was sad. It was also a mold farm waiting to happen. I get it.