Ode to an Old Plaid Sofa

published Feb 29, 2012
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Dear Beaten-Up, Broken-Down, Ugly Old Plaid Couch:

Thank you.

As long as I’ve had a couch, you have been my couch. Your ugly, unmatchable plaid-ness has been my curse and my great joy. Now that the time has finally come to replace you, I find I can barely bring myself to do it. What will my living room be without you? What will I be without you?

We’ve been through so much together. When my proud parents brought me home from the hospital, you were there. My sisters and I pretended you were a plane, or a boat, or a train. Sheltered by you, I watched the Lion King 548 times. Some of the most important people in my life have sat on you – my grandparents, my high school friends, my first boyfriend.

My mom and dad let me take you with me when I got my first college apartment. My parents got a new couch. It was fluffy, and blue, in a lovely understated floral. Coming home for the first time that year, I was surprised by how much better my parents’ living room looked. But somehow, it didn’t seem like home anymore.

I graduated from college and moved to the big city, but you stayed with me. You shouldered the weight of breakups, layoffs, and loneliness with admirable resilience. So many things changed, but you never did. There you always were – ugly, plaid, supportive. When I came home from my grandmother’s funeral, exhausted and heart-weary, you embraced me as if to say, I understand. Rest your tired head on my outdated upholstery. And I was comforted. Sitting on you was like getting a hug from an old friend.

You’ve become so much more than a couch to me. You’re a place to rest, a place to nap, a place to party, a home office, but what is more, a tangible connection to my past – to all the people who have sat here, who have shared memories of this couch. Your various nooks and crannies are a mysterious and unfathomable network, full of crumbs and change and the DVD remote and several combs dating back to the late 80s.

Time is beginning to take its toll on you. Your cushions are misshapen. You sag. I hate saggy couches, but I don’t hate you. I could sooner hate my own hands and feet.

So I will miss you, old plaid sofa, when you go to the great living room in the sky. There will be other couches, younger ones, prettier ones, with firmer cushions, but to me you will always be THE couch. When I think of you, I will see us together like we used to be, on a cold, sunny Sunday afternoon, me curled up, reading the funnies, feet stuffed deep into your comforting crevasses.