Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Soon-To-Be-A-Memory: The History of a Couch

It had been purchased by Susie’s then-girlfriend in an effort to keep two people in one spot.

Didn't work.

Susie’s incoming new wife - determined to clear their new home of old memories - sawed it in half so it could fit in the tiny elevator of their 5th Street apartment and get it the hell out of their new life together. The newly married couple walked both pieces up to my apartment eight blocks away and stuffed it into my tiny elevator.

Having never had a real couch before, I was thrilled and watched in awe as the new wife power-tooled the two pieces back to their former glory.

In the ensuing decade and then some, sex and love and happily-ever-after were attempted on its cushions.  Art was marveled at from its comfort, stories were written and, when sick, it was the best place to curl up and become a little girl again.

Until, without enough warning, life flooded with unending loss.  That couch became a refuge to hide in, often with take-out and TV to numb and soothe everything from too much of too much.

In the midst of all this, Jupiter the kitten unexpectedly arrived.

Those first few weeks, it was the perfect place for him to hide under when – little and frightened – he waited for me, the mommy-can-opener, to return back from some unnecessary errand and love and feed him.  Not necessarily in that order. 

However, as several house guests observed, when I wasn’t home, he retreated back under and waited. 

Months passed.  Loss didn’t bang around my head so much.  Jupiter got bigger and less frightened and soon, that couch became the place for me to hang out on and for him to hide his favorite toys under, including my favorite pen, my reading glasses, hair bands for the gym, the floss, plastic rings from bottles, all the thousands of jiggling bell balls I kept buying him, the catnip mouse, the catnip bird, the catnip sausage...

And before we knew it, enough time had passed that I didn’t need to curl up with take-out, and Jupiter was so big he couldn’t even fit a paw beneath the broken frame.  Instead, the beat-up couch became his warm corner to catch up on his beauty sleep as I did paperwork for a better future.

One day, the couch just became too broken for both of us – an aging tushy and a big-bone cat.  Hammers and crowbars dismantled it into small pieces and strong hands stuffed them into our tiny elevator. Me and Jupiter watched decades of history no longer welcomed and no longer needed depart to the basement garbage room.  

A new couch was coming soon, second-hand like the first, but bought from strangers, more functional, a bit smaller, not so broken.  I swept and mopped the dusty empty space, making it ready for that new couch.  And as I did, I also made it ready for new memories and a new history – one that me and Jupiter would both get to choose.