This is my couch…
It is ugly. It is old. When you sit on it, Ugly Couch creaks and shrieks as if it is in agony. Perhaps it is in agony. If your skin was patterned with brown and orange flowers interspersed with old clocks how happy would you be?
The couch cushions are sentient beings. I can’t prove it but I’m sure the way they shift into a near-vertical state the moment I touch down is the cushions’ attempt to suffocate me.
I hate Ugly Couch. I know the feeling is mutual.
This was a couch of convenience. Prez and I had just arrived back in Nelson after two years in the Cook Islands. We didn’t know what we were going to do with ourselves, we didn’t know if we were going to stay in Nelson for long, but we needed something to sit on.
Something we wouldn’t regret selling for peanuts if we up and moved again, as we are wont to do.
Gone are the days of expensive Italian leather, soft as butter. Gypsies do not invest in the nails that will hold their feet to the ground!
Also, we can’t afford that stuff any more.
We found the couch through the local classifieds. It was stuck in the back of a big old house full of junk and old “stuff”. Though ugly, it was clean and looked unused. We gave the man $75 and loaded the ugly couch into the back of our pick-up. Easy to do, the couch weighs about four ounces because it is constructed of velour and wishful thinking.
Over the years I have…
…for a new couch. Not “new” new. Just different. Less likely to induce spontaneous eyeball bleeding. Something has always thwarted my efforts. An ancient curse?
Two summers ago, I thought I’d outsmarted the curse. Prez was out of town and I’d found a second-hand leather couch for less than $200. It was beige and clean and promised to be everything Ugly Couch was not. Desperate, I hauled New Couch home, unloaded it by myself, and dragged it into our suite. I couldn’t get it up the ridiculous spiral staircase, however, and so I had to wait until Prez returned.
“Say goodbye, Ugly Couch,” I taunted, as I counted the days.
Ugly Couch remained silent. Biding its time. It’s all-knowing gaze was trained on what it knew were my futile hopes and dreams.
Sure enough, once New Couch was installed in the living room, we discovered its fatal flaw: it was slippery. Not only that, but it was also tilted an angle that was guaranteed to spit you onto the floor. It lasted a week. New Couch now resides on Tim and Becky Rippel’s front porch.
Ugly Couch will not be usurped. Ugly Couch laughs at your pain.
Ugly Couch knows your weaknesses.
Every litter of kittens we foster fall instantly in love with Ugly Couch. The velour is the perfect texture for their tiny claws to grab and hold as they learn to climb. And, underneath, torn fabric beckons them into Ugly Couch’s belly. “Come, small furry friends, and nest in my cottony bosom.”
“You see? Your babies love me. You cannot get rid of me as long as they are here,” Ugly Couch purrs.
It is correct and I am weak in the face of kittens.
Yet, even through our tense stalemate, Ugly Couch and I have penned tales of love of and loss, triumph, sorrow, mighty battles and steamy seductions. On Ugly Couch, I have created and traveled to worlds of all description. Hundreds of thousands of words have flowed from my fingers as I perched atop fields of orange and brown flowers… and clocks. Together we have become gods and demons, transcended time and space, given life and taken it away. We two. We lucky two.
I could make my peace with Ugly Couch, perhaps, if not for the silent and not-so-silent judgments of those around me. I know they hate Ugly Couch. They do not see it as my muse but as the anchor dragging me to the depths.
Ugly Couch is my Yoko Ono.
I want to believe my writing will not suffer when Ugly Couch and I at last are parted.
I will know soon enough.
A new couch has been promised to me by a fellow scribe. (Not “new” new but…well, you know what I mean.) In six to eight weeks, Ugly Couch will be sent away forever and I will begin a new journey of discovery, on a new couch, one without clocks or flowers. The cold war will end and Ugly Couch will be vanquished.
Or will it?