The Couches

I grew up on used/hand-me-down stuff. I’ve never minded previously owned treasures, so years ago when my employer, we’ll call her Dr. Smith, offered two gently-used couches for free I jumped at the chance. I was pregnant with Charlie and money was tight. Dr. Smith stated that the couches were a few years old, in good shape, and only needed a good vacuuming. Sounded good to me. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Two of my co-workers, we’ll call them Tweedledum and Tweedledee, said, “You’re lucky! Those couches are nice. They’re a pretty green color and you’ll love them.” They had both babysat for Dr. Smith and enjoyed lounging on them.

A couple of days later, Dr. Smith brought in a cushion so I could make sure I liked it. When I saw it I was puzzled because this was not a solid green color as Tweedledum had told me. It was a blue, green, and maroon striped pattern with different geometric shapes on it.

“Uh, guys, I don’t get it, this definitely is not a solid green color.” I asked, concerned that I might be getting into something that would be hard to back out of.

Tweedledee assured me that the couches she was giving away were green. “Maybe that’s an accent pillow? Maybe she brought that in to show you the shade of green,” she pointed to one of the green stripes.

I already felt in over my head because Dr. Smith had never actually said the couches were solid green, but by now I had already made plans to pick them up on a Saturday. Andy would have to borrow a 15-passenger van and another friend to load the couches with him. But I trusted Tweedledum and Tweedledee who assured me I would be happy with them.

Andy, his friend Jeff, and I made the trip over to the Eastside from Seattle to pick up our “green” couches. Dr. Smith said the garage would be open and we could back the van into the driveway for loading. As we pulled up I saw a large and small couch that perfectly matched the cushion that Dr. Smith had brought in, not the “solid green” I had hoped for. Andy spotted them at the same time and said, “uh, no. Let’s just keep driving.”

“We can’t do that. She knows we’re coming and I told her we’d take them. We have to.” There was no way I was going to tell her I didn’t like them and changed my mind.

“Then let’s pick them up and drive them straight to Goodwill,” Andy said. Not a bad idea.

“Let’s just get them and go. We can talk about our options later,” I told him, not wanting to linger any longer than necessary.

After the couches were loaded and many thanks were said, we drove off with our new/used striped couches with geometric shapes on them. I did my best to explain to Andy why I thought the couches were just plain green and not this funky pattern, but it didn’t really make a difference. We decided that since we currently had a thirty year old couch and no money, we might as well try them out. Maybe they’d at least be comfortable.

Turns out those couches were extremely comfortable. Sixteen years later, we’ve gotten a couple of pieces of newer furniture, but have managed to still hang on to the smaller of the two. We have photo after photo of each one of our kids on those couches. Many friends and family have slept on them as well. Coleman has pretty much taken it over as if it were his very own and if we even utter a word about getting rid of it, he is quick to protest.

That old thing has managed to stick around much longer than I would have preferred, but somehow, there it stays; ripped cushions and springs popping up through the bottom. It’s like it knows I don’t have the heart to just toss it. Too many memories.

Had this whole situation happened today, rather than 16 years ago, Dr. Smith would have just shown me a quick picture on her phone and it could have been decided right then and there. It turns out, the solid green couches Tweedledum and Tweedledee were assuring me of were upstairs in Dr. Smith’s house, which she had no intention of getting rid of. Downstairs was where the funky couches lived. Guess they never made it down there to see them. Mystery solved.

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