I hate my couch. It is a placeholder of course. I am 28, recently married, and thus in that limbo space between childhood (when one doesn’t dream of her future couch) and adulthood (when one owns the couch of her dreams though never actually dreamt). So the couch is somewhat a microfiber metaphor for my in-between-ness. A metaphor because I am brooding and complex, not flippant or whiny…
The couch exists in our living room by necessity. You see, when we moved into our new apartment our old couch had to change roles and now stars as the “guest bed.” Fancy, I know. Naturally, I began to scour Craiglsist to find a replacement, and without measurements, nor foresight, I bought this beaut for 200 bucks. It had been playing the role as “stand-in” stage furniture for a real estate company. The picture boasted a “regal” high-back frame and throw pillows like that found in a Parisian salon, the kind of place with fringe on the lampshades and accordion music wafting through the windows. Naturally, “throw pillows not included.”
At 10pm that evening Ben and I found ourselves maneuvering the “like new” couch up our front steps. 18 steps precisely. Including a fun left turn off the narrow platform the leads to our neighbor’s front door. It was like a scene from I Love Lucy. Ben nailed Ricky’s Latin temper with ease, while I perfected Lucy’s weak-armed befuddlement—WAHHHHH—our marriage was over before it began.
Me: This is literally the heaviest thing I have ever lifted.
Somehow an hour and a half later, our marriage had survived, and the couch was permanently jammed into our living room. It was at this point we realized…it was far too big for our far too small apartment. Its “regal” high back and arms invaded the wall and doorway. It did come with some pillows, but they were meaty and characterless. Not a whiff of the French salon. The whole look was swollen, heavy, and said “I am here, I am beige, get used to it.” Though its aesthetic is wholly Martha Stewart, its attitude is all Niecy Nash with head bobs and snaps. Ben was seething, but soon we were sitting, eating cheese, making the best of it.
So here comes that metaphor. The couch is a giant, tangible, $200 limbo. It is neither progress nor setback, but rather, a necessary placeholder as we are in the making. We are no longer children, but we are certainly not adults. Adulthood, it seems, is a process of endless incremental changes; so, daunting as fuck. I am literally daunted by sitting because the couch is a constant reminder that we (well, I, if I am feeling egotistical and honest) am not a finished product, not even close. I require a lifetime of effort and energy and ultimately will never be finished. It is an exhausting notion: identity, or some form of completion rather, is an eternal, unattainable project…and I am garbage at logistics.