A long time ago in a galaxy far away (circa 1993), I was a 20 year old. Having just tied the knot, I did what most young, inexperienced married couples do: I bought … a COUCH. It was probably the first big purchase we made as a ‘unit’; my man and I.
And so we bought a couch… and a floor lamp. Because you had to buy the 90’s-looking, five-branched, hovering floor lamp – to make the couch look even cooler than you already thought that it looked. When you are 20, illusions run deep. I can only say that I wish I had a picture of the entire layout for you now… because it would be a laughable sight. I’m pretty sure I drew it out once or twice to mail to friends – just to show them how ‘awesome’ our design skills were.
I didn’t have a lot of money for film back then (and for you younger folks, digital cameras had not yet been mass produced)… so there aren’t that many great photos to share of our newlywed couch. Even in these last few scanned pictures, you can’t get an idea of exactly what it looked like. Memories are all that remain of our first couch as a married couple.
She wasn’t just any couch. She was ‘sleek’ and ‘uptown’. She was ‘modern’ and ‘hip’. She was “genuine Boltaflex”. Let me translate. That means: fake leather. The guy who talked us in to buying it didn’t even have to be that good a salesman because our taste was so bad.
When we got our first apartment and had to carry our couch up three flights of stairs by ourselves, the ‘Black Boltaflex Beauty’ earned herself another nickname I can’t repeat on a G-rated blog. The pleather was cold and unwelcoming for sitting alone… and because we worked opposite shifts, most of the time, the only one sitting on the couch was a cat.
Consequently, we found cat teeth to be the only thing strong enough to penetrate such a sturdy fabricated ‘leather’. Somehow the cat survived longer than the couch despite this fact. We sold the couch to another 20 year old getting her first apartment when we decided to move out of our second one. A little less than four years after we purchased her, she was suddenly gone… along with our comforter set, sheets, bed ruffle, microwave stand, and entertainment center. All of the things in our house that screamed “First Apartment” left in one truck.
All that was left was a huge empty spot on the living room floor that needed a new couch; but we had our memories. Memories like the TV nights when we would cuddle on that black couch. I’m sure we were eating hamburger helper (because it was all I knew how to cook) and sitting in front of our black coffee table watching Star Trek. I remember the nights we stayed up late with our friends that lived upstairs, drinking ourselves in to a stupor and playing games around that coffee table, taking turns sitting on the couch. We thought we were so ‘grown up’.
That couch had a view of our first Christmas tree together, our first fish tank, and our then 200-plus CD collection. When you sat on it, you could hear the freeway traffic outside our sliding-glass balcony door. [Come to think of it, you could hear that anywhere in the entire apartment.] In our second apartment, the black couch was downstairs and our bedroom was up. We even had a few guests sleep on it (as uncomfortable as it was). Most of the time it was just a place for the cats to perch.
My favorite memory of that couch, though, was the one time that I had to be carried to it so that I could sit on it. I had been lying flat for over a week. After catching spinal meningitis at the age of 21, I spent a week in the hospital and then was on bed-rest at home. I had lost 10 lbs, and my husband had to carry me to the bathroom, bathe me, and take care of me for another few days after I got home. As a surprise ‘get-well’ gift, he bought me a few salt water fish to fill our empty fish tank while I was in bed (we used to be really in to fish and spent a lot of time pet stores before we had our kids). I had no idea he was doing this in the living room because I was unable to do much besides eat and sleep while I was recuperating.
When I finally felt good enough to sit up, I asked him to take me out to the couch so I could be in the living room with him. He made me close my eyes. When I opened them, there was my lovely new tank – looking as pretty as the ones at the pet store that I had been admiring for so long.
A slick modern couch and a shimmering new set of salt-water fish – shiny reminders of how much a man loved his woman. I’m so glad our love outlasted that fake leather.
Note: This post was inspired by a writing prompt from Hallmark through their Blissdom Writing Workshop. Two of Hallmark’s card writers, Molly and Sarah teamed up with bloggers Stephanie Precourt and Casey Mullins to host a workshop focused on “Inspired Writing.” It was my favorite of all of the sessions there. You can view more couch stories (or add your own to the growing linky) by checking out the list at Adventures in Babywearing.