Monday, April 25, 2011

Vieux Canapé

A knock at the door. Two young women sit on an old couch. It's threads are coming apart here and there and the patterns worn, but they've covered most of the stains up nicely. It's a blue couch, mostly, a dark navy blue that was once almost indistinguishable from black, but over time has changed into a sort of bluish grey. There are three couch cushions, wide enough for any normal person to sit with plenty of personal space, but the girls are sitting side by side in the middle.

"I'll answer it" says a disembodied man's voice in the kitchen.

The two sit on the crevices of the couch, where dirt, crumbs, lint and odd assorted items regularly gather. Things that no one uses or needs lie forgotten under the cushions, lost in time to these crevices. There are buttons of questionable origin, unsharpened pencils with used up erasers, a plastic spork and, somehow, the may 1998 issue of a now out-of-print urban design magazine, which is no longer relevant to contemporary styles, but is interesting to thumb through nonetheless. Pennies and individually wrapped wintogreen lifesavers have made their way from someone's purse into the crevices of this particular couch as well, and have been observed and ignored by the young women during countless searches for spare change.

The door is knocked upon again.

The back of the couch is against a wall, but is marked with deep cuts, cat claw scratches, and most damningly the residual staining from the time that one guy drank a little too much and a carpet cleaner needed to be rented, as well as a few towels tossed out. He was only invited back six more times before he left for the greater northwest and was never heard from again, except on every social networking site about ten times a day. The ladies have tagged him in the various photos documenting this event, and he informs them that he has laughed loudly at them all. There is also some dirt build up, but the corner stitching still looks rather solid after all this time.

"Actually, I can't really stop what I'm doing over here" the absentee voice says with an inflection of apology.

The couch is about 4 inches off the ground from the legs, and while it's not impossible to clean this area with the hardwood floors, it's simply too much effort. Balls of dust and hair camouflage artifacts from a forgotten history underneath. The couch is made of corduroy. The bottom of the couch, however, is a thin white paper material that reveals the wood and springs within, and make the lounging device's secrets a little more transparent. The girls are not even remotely interested in these secrets, as they sit, side by side, on the crevices between the cushions.

A time passes and the door remains silent.

The couch sits in the living room, adjacent to the western wall and roughly ten feet in front of the television. Between the two is a square coffee table on top of an oval throw rug. Shelves line the wall to the right of the couch, and the kitchen is barely visible from around a corner on the other side. Various other seating fills out the room, while a standing lamp sits shyly in the corner. Several windows, as well as a skylight, give natural light and heat to the room during the day, but most of the blinds have been pulled for privacy.

"I've done it!" the man's voice yells with mad delight. The girls rush to the kitchen to find what looks like an ordinary peach cobbler, freshly baked. The room is otherwise empty, and upon inspection, the oven is still cold.

The young women return to the living room, to the comfort of their old blue corduroy couch, and sit side by side in the middle.

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