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My Sofa This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I am standing outside and can't get in becauseyou're on the other side sitting on the sofa you've pressed against the door.You're laughing and you know I know what's going on. You've left the window openon purpose so I can hear. I know because it's raining and the dense plushforest-green carpet is getting wet and if I could get in, I'd strangle youbecause I really do have a thing for that carpet. I can also see a bowl of foodon the floor, a shining beacon to ants nationwide, and I know you've done this tospite me because it's my food, healthy food, like tofu and yogurt and wheat breadand vegan delights. You don't like my sort of food, you like Pop-Tarts and animalby-products, but I never call you murderer, and I'm protective of that food andyou're spiting me again because you know how I feel about having insects in myapartment, which this is, by the way. If I'm going to pay for it, I want it to beinsect-free, and I want my carpet to be dry, and I want to eat my food, and Iwant to be inside. I know you'll cover the carpet with the sofa because thesofa's supposed to be there, but all I can see is wet carpet.

Suddenly Idon't want to play this game anymore, this game where you always win and I alwayslose, and I never seem to know when it starts or ends. I'll finally think thatI'm ahead but we aren't playing and it's raining harder now and I wish you'dclose the window and pick up the food, and let me in. I don't want to be meanymore and I'm getting tired of this.

You've never used something asheavy as the sofa before. The first time it was your hand and you had justcleaned the apartment as a surprise and there was dinner on the table. It was aninedible dinner, but when I finally pushed through that door and saw you standingthere smiling and heard the fire alarm shrieking, I laughed. You laughed and Ilaughed until the fire department came and they laughed too when they looked atthe scorched food. I didn't stop laughing until they charged me for not turningoff the fire alarm before they showed up. I asked would I still have to pay ifI'd shut it off and they'd come anyway and the firemen stopped laughing. Youdidn't.

Then it was a chair, a folding chair, and it folded on itself. Theapartment was still dirty and there was no food, but you were smiling, and Ilaughed. You laughed and I laughed until the neighbor banged on the door and toldus to hush and he laughed too when he tried to open the chair and saw it wouldn'tbudge. I didn't stop laughing until he said he'd have to report the disturbanceto the super. I asked could he do that when he was laughing and the neighborstopped laughing. You didn't.

Then it was the storage bins, and then thegarbage bags, and then stacks of my favorite books, and we laughed. Now it's thesofa and you're laughing.

I'm not.

I paid for that sofa, Iremember. According to you, I don't have a real job but I funded that sofa and Ibuy all our food and I pay the rent and you're laughing inside and it's rainingand there's a ring in my pocket that I bought too. You're a journalist and yousay it's a real job but you never bring home any of the money. You spend it ongambling and drinking and male strippers. I know you do, because they call whenyou don't pay in full and I have to pay it so hit-men don't come and smash up myapartment. The male entertainment agencies always think it's funny when Ianswer the phone. They think I'm gay but I don't mind because I have you and theydon't.

You've abused my carpet since day one, when you wouldn't take offyour shoes and spilled your coffee. Then there was the nail polish and theperoxide and all the things that you swore you'd never do again but you alwayswear your shoes on my carpet when I'm not home because I find chunks of mud.You're never sorry anymore.

My sofa doesn't like you and it never has. Thefirst time you sat on it you sat right on a spring that wasn't there before. It'salways so stiff when you walk into the room, but it slouches once you sitsomewhere else. Now you're sitting on my sofa and you're laughing and it'sraining and I can hear another voice. You're not alone. I know that there'sanother man because you don't bother vacuuming anymore and I see the ugly size 14tread marks on my carpet and I know that you bring him here. But you knew thatI'd be home today. A train got derailed and I was delayed. This never would havehappened if I hadn't had to sell my car.

My car was beautiful, at least inmy eyes. A beat-up green Jeep, not quite a BMW or the Viper I've always wanted,but it was good enough for me, at least until you stole my wallet with all mycredit cards and bought too many expensive things so that I couldn't affordrent.

And I'm thinking. My bank account is empty, my credit card isthrown into a friend's fire, my food is on the floor, my carpet's getting wet,ants are coming, and I've just been fired. I have no car and can't afford thenewspaper anymore. I don't have a phone book, or a phone, so how can I find ajob?

I'm standing by this door, stroking at the peeling paint, thinking ofhow neglected it's been since you moved in. There's a ring in my pocket, mycarpet's getting wet, my food's on the floor, the sofa doesn't like you, you'renot alone, the paint on my door is peeling. I stopped laughing a long time agoand suddenly I'm slicing through the screen. There's a switchblade in my pocketthat I've only used once and I still have the scars. I can feel them rubbingagainst my sleeves, and my watch hid them till I had to sell it. But it didn'twork and I found you and now I want to use that knife again.

You aren'tlaughing now, you're screaming and he's putting on his clothes and I'm makingsounds like a maniac. It's laughter, real laughter like I've never heard before,and I'm charging into my flat and I haven't taken my shoes off and my carpet iscrying and I kick over my food. I go over to my sofa and I laugh down at you andyou're cowering in fear and I don't know what I'm saying.

Get out,Celeste. I don't need you anymore. There's a ring in my pocket and I'm not surewhy and I don't need you anymore.

And I've put the knife away and they'reboth gone. I'm alone here with my carpet and my sofa and my food and there's aring in my pocket hitting against the knife and she's gone and I can breatheagain.

One thing I still have is the television, even though I never likedit, and it was always for her. Maybe there's something good on.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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