Today was supposed to be a day to celebrate. The day we went out with the old couch and in with the new, blue, slightly used. But as my husband pounded on the old one with a sledge hammer, my stomach turned a few degrees. How did we ever fit this brown monster through the front door thirteen years ago?
Oh…I remember. My husband and brother in law had to remove the legs. I sat on a chair and watched, helpless with my seven month pregnant belly. As they pushed and grunted, and our door gave birth to brown pillows, I groaned quietly. “A chestnut horse.”
Plain brown was not my choice; it was Mary’s. We live in my mother in law’s house, and I should be grateful. I am. Usually. Sometimes the jealousy bug creeps into my mind and I wish to decorate in my own taste like the home shows I should stop watching on TV.
Our house was already drowning in brown when Mary suggested, “How about a nice brown couch to match the hutch and the rug?” And chairs, table, frames, and horse paintings.
I forced a smile and said, “That sounds nice.” I didn’t have the heart or the guts to tell her what I really thought. She’s a wonderful person, and I didn’t want to want to seem ungrateful or picky. Why does she have to match the twenty year-old rug anyway?
Our L shaped couch rested in the one position it could fit and dominate the living room. Plopping onto the chestnut horse, I sat and contemplated why we needed such a large couch for two small boys and a baby. God knew why.
He saw the day when I would sit at the corner, nursing our fifth child, and reading Narnia stories to her four brothers, each fighting over the best place on the couch. He saw the spit up, spills, and accidents; only a dark couch could hide some stains. He saw us melt into that couch under cozy brown blankets to watch movies on family night. He saw the day our boys would come home from a baseball game with half the team to hang out on our chestnut horse. He saw the years of homeschooling from the comfort of the brown cushions. He saw our teenage boys and their friends fill the couch with laughter. He saw the years.
I have to admit, our old brown couch patiently endured daily beatings from the boys. My kids never “sat” down; they took flying leaps and crashed down. One arm caved in thanks to the little gymnasts who loved to vault and turn somersaults. As I changed diapers, I often heard the thud of the chestnut horse. “Take it easy!” I would yell to deaf ears. I’m sure if it were able, it would have galloped away. Or did it grow to love the attention and rough affection of tumbling boys?
Our daughter preferred to dance on the couch as her stage any time the couch looked lonely. When she tired, she often fell asleep in the arms of the chestnut horse. I would snuggle next to her.
The old couch eventually lost its youthful glow. Patches covered the tears. It sagged in too many places. Three legs were broken. Sitting produced sore bottoms and achy backs. It was time to say goodbye.
My husband demolished the couch, but not the memories.
Mary and I watched her boys move in the blue couch. Clean, bright, and new looking. We both smiled. What was she thinking? She let me know…
“Tomorrow, I’d like to go buy some fabric covers for the new couch,” she said, rubbing the cushions. “I think brown would look nice. What do you think?”
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