If This Couch Could Talk

By Andrea Freedman
Andrea Freedman
Andrea Freedman
July 17, 2008 Updated: October 8, 2008

For the longest time I didn’t want to spend the money on replacing our couch.  I didn’t want to acknowledge the severity of the tears in its cushions.  As I watched the fabric rip more and more, I was reminded of the fabric of my life over the past 15 years and found the thought of replacing the couch that had been so much a part of it daunting.  The holes in the cushions only got bigger.  Try as I might to be diligent about flipping them, as time went on, one side was no better than the next.  For as long as I could, I rationalized that it was still functional.  Eventually, the rips in its fabric bothered me to no end.  My husband and I talked many times about getting a new couch and now that we’ve finally done it, a part of me is asking myself if it was all worth it. 

We went off to the furniture store one Sunday with the intention of just getting ideas but once we had spent three hours there and my husband said that he never wanted to go shopping for a couch again, I knew it was now or never.  I had to make a decision.  If I wanted to transform our living room from its present shabby condition, I would have no choice but to replace the couch, even if it meant paying for it.

Many Milestones and Memories

The couch I have now was my first purchase of real furniture after I moved out on my own.  Now this new couch will be the first piece of furniture that I have purchased with my husband.  Even the color we chose for our fabric is something I never would have imagined myself choosing.  Green!  When it was first suggested to me I was inwardly horrified, nervous to move so far out of my color comfort zone.  Black seemed cool back when I bought my first couch; there was no other choice.  Perhaps my old couch was a prop in the persona I was trying to create of myself when I was a single woman, as is the new green shade a symbol of growth.

I have many fond memories on my big old couch and I will be sad to see it go.  I remember taking the day off work and waiting in eager anticipation for its arrival over 15 years ago.  I can still visualize the scene when the delivery men had left and I fluffed up the cushions and rearranged my other furniture in order to show off my new huge beautiful black sectional in the best possible light.  I remember how excited I was as I waited for my sister, who was also my roommate at the time, to get home from work so she could see it.  When she did, she was just as excited as I was and it was not long before it became The Party Couch, each of its five seats occupied on any given night.  If that couch could talk – well, let’s just say I’m glad it can’t! 

Over the years, that particular possession with its soft pillows that you could sink into has given me comfort when I needed a place to relax or take a nap and peace when I was filled with inner turmoil and needed to just sit down and collect myself.  It has provided a backdrop to many romantic evenings, a welcome meeting spot for socializing and watching sporting events and a makeshift bed if someone needed to sleep over.  My friends and I have laughed and cried on that couch and it was also the place where I was sitting with my husband when he first told me that he wanted to marry me.  I wonder if its next owner will realize the history behind it, the memories it has been a part of.  I wish that there was someone I could give the couch to that I knew would feel the same appreciation for it as I always have.  As silly as such sentimentality may sound, anyone who has ever grown attached to an object, souvenir or a piece of well-used, lived-in furniture, knows the emotions that come with letting go of something that is so much a piece of one’s past. 

When I mentioned to some friends over dinner that our new couch was not to be delivered for another six weeks, they were appalled that I would have to wait that long.  “It’s okay,” I told them, “Imagine how excited I will be when it finally arrives.”  What I really was thinking was that I would still have another six weeks with my old, cozy couch.  I have time to try to find someone who needs furniture and who would be grateful to have my old beloved couch, shredded fabric and all.  I will have time to get used to the idea that once my old couch goes out the door, I will be saying goodbye to it forever. 

Some of our friends have expressed mixed feelings about what it will be like once we get The New Couch, wondering if my husband and I will be as cavalier if someone accidentally spills something on it, as we once were with our faithful black sofa that never showed any dirt.  Will I feel as comfortable if we want to eat dinner or have a snack in front of the TV or will I be too afraid of dropping something and making a stain?  When people collapse on the new couch with unnecessary force, sending the cushions into disarray, will I be cringing inside, trying to set an example by sitting down gingerly?  Time will tell.  There is sure to be an adjustment period but hopefully, once we and the new couch get used to each other, it will become part of many happy, new memories. 

It is time to take a deep breath and move on.  That is, it will be in another six weeks.  For now, I can still sit on my favourite, worn spot of my tried and trusted couch without worrying that I am going to make the holes worse, and wean myself from it in the meantime.  I will look back nostalgically at all the good times it has been a part of, while looking forward to the future, coming home from work and flopping down on my new couch.  Not too hard of course.  I don’t want to wear it in too quickly.


Andrea Freedman
Andrea Freedman