I got in a conversation today with a friend about a couch she’s been trying to get rid of. It’s a denim couch she bought when she was 20. It was her first big ticket, independent purchase. She still loves it now, ten years later, even though it no longer fits in her house. She and her almost-husband recently bought a new couch, and took the old one out to the curb this weekend. It sat there for ten minutes, before she decided that she wasn’t ready to say goodbye to it, and everything it represented for her. She and the almost-husband went right outside and brought it back. This, to me at least, shows just how much he loves her, as he didn’t even flinch when she said that he had to help her carry the thing back into the house. (Remember, I’m not a traditional romantic).
Her story got me thinking about couches, and what the things they represent to us. I have a brown loveseat that I bought about three years ago. The cushions are filled with feathers, the fabric is soft, and it is immensely comfortable. I bought it used at the Uhuru furniture bazaar one afternoon. I had spent several hours shopping post-Christmas sales with my ex-boyfriend and we were walking past Uhuru on our way home. I spotted this couch, and instantly knew I wanted it to be mine. We sat on it and debated the pros and cons. I came to the conclusion that it was perfect, and the right price to boot.
The next night I was at a Unitarian potluck at the then-ministers’ house, talking to a young couple I had just met. I mentioned to them excitedly that I had gotten a great deal on a used couch the day before. They exchanged a look, and asked me to describe the loveseat just a little more. I detailed it in a few more sentences, and then Tracy couldn’t hold it in anymore. She said, “that’s our couch!” It turns out that just a few hours before I had walked by Uhuru and fallen in love with the couch, the Uhuru donations truck had stopped by their house and picked it up. In a few short seconds, my second-hand couch had gained a source, a history and a sense of synchronicity. I imagine I would have just as hard a time getting rid of this at this point as my friend is having with the prospect of being separated from her’s.