Their Old Love

October 8, 2009
By , Acton, MA
I sit at the end of the driveway with an unfamiliar heat beating down on my back. I’m not used to the sun but it feels good. The fabric of my skin is now pleasantly warm and I’m enchanted to observe that the sound of the outdoors isn’t caged like the voices inside the living room. I have heard the wind whistle through an open window before, but nothing is more satisfying than feeling it for the first time. The birds sing and the leaves brush against each other and I wonder why people choose to live sheltered inside where square rooms and closed doors keep them hidden. I wonder why people don’t spend all their time outside. Though, if they did, they wouldn’t need me, would they?

I breathe in deeply and stretch. My legs ache and my arms are worn; but I’m not falling apart just yet. My rips and tears have been sewn, and I’d say I’m in pretty good condition for a 72 year old loveseat.

I notice the cardboard sign that reads FREE at the same time a green pickup truck begins to slow down a few blocks away. Everything finally makes sense, and I find myself wanting to scream. Why would this family give up on me? I’ve known them their whole lives—we’ve been through so much. The truck comes to a stop in front of me.

A very petite lady hops out and does a quick look-over. She then decides to further explore her find and sits down. I feel her tense muscles loosen at my touch and I hear a muffled, “Hurry up,” from the driver’s seat. The woman replies, “Gosh, gimmi one minute, this thing’s really comfortable.” She looks down. “No, never mind. It’s got a stain. Let’s go.”

When they drive away, I’m left feeling both relieved and insulted. I realize that I do have scars and stains that, to some, offer me as ugly. The particular stain that drove away that woman is from the cat that ate and threw up Mrs. Ford’s potpourri a few years ago. There are also several stains from sharpies used for school projects, wine spilt from a drunken Christmas Eve, and here and there, grease spots dripped from pizza on those Friday Movie Nights. In a personal way, these markings represent unique memories that keep me bonded with the family I love.

Or they did at some point.

Why would they want to be rid of me now? We have become so close over the years, and I know things that no one does. Like, for instance, that 17 year old football player Joe watches soap operas when no one’s home. And his sister, Anna, had her first kiss in my presence with a boy who tasted like pretzels and lemonade. I have so many secrets that I want to share with those who are willing to place their hands behind their head and relax. I want to be the one to remind people of all those tiny memories, simply because they sat down. I’m not ready to surrender those moments.

I have a good qualities and flaws just like any old piece of furniture. I can clear minds of stress when people are with me and I don’t mind if they put their feet up. But I’ll admit it; I can be pretty annoying. I always happen to steel Mr. Ford’s car keys right before a big meeting, and I often lose the remote. Grandma’s nightgown gets lost in my floral print, so she always looks like just a floating gray head. When we have multiple people over, I cannot provide for many. But it’s not my fault there’s only room for two.

They want to trade me in for something better, I assume. But what could be greater than something original they grew up with? What does a fancy leather sofa have that I don’t? Maybe it’s not personal; maybe it’s just time.

People are always trading in for things bigger and better, with faster technology and more buttons to press. I guess I don’t blame them. Maybe someone will come along and slap a slipcover over me, place me in their home, and make me something beautiful. I’ll still be me; I’ll just have different skin. Maybe that’s not so bad after all.

As the sun sets behind the trees, I learn to accept that this is farewell but not goodbye.

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