Monday, September 26, 2016

Tossing a Penny into the Gravity Well That Was My Broken Fold-Out Futon Sofa

There is more to life than passages and departures. It’s just that these passages and departures are so much more acute this year.

No, I won’t write a poem for it like I did for our deceased 20-year-old TV, but this bent and ripped fold-out futon sofa that only folded out so far was a fixture in my office before it was an office. It was the first thing I saw for years as I stepped into my sanctuary/workspace in the morning. If you came to stay overnight with us, this is what you would have slept on. 
Of course, if you leave the door open, you might find yourself having trouble breathing.

It was July 2008, eighteen months after our February 2007 move into our house in Colorado Springs, before I started moving stuff out to the shelves of the just-finished garage, and re-purposing what was then a storage area. Once the basement room was clear, my wife slid a big flat box down the carpeted stairs and assembled the sofa beneath the basement window well. It was there for a day before I acted on my natural preference to have the window area clear, and dragged the sofa to the north wall, where it faced out the door. From there, it pulled the room together Big Lebowski-style for nearly eight years.

Like most furniture you buy at a big-box discount store and assemble for yourself, it wasn’t the sturdiest of things. The frame bent over time, and the fabric was barely hanging on to the too-thin cushions. The first time we took the covers off the wash them, the zipper on one cover broke in the course of trying to get it back on the cushion.

Well, throw a blanket or two on it. What do you expect for $200? For years, until the last Saturday in April of this most fatal year, 2016, we made do.

Before she grew up and moved out, my daughter would come down to sleep on the futon when it was too hot in her room. She even bought the Beatles blanket seen in the above photograph—it was the first thing she’d ever bought me for Christmas with her own money, earned from her first job. 

I would nap on the futon from time to time while grinding on my first prototype novel in 2012. I didn’t use it as much once I really got going as a writer in 2013— I didn’t even really sit on it all that much. Again, though, if you were at my place in Colorado Springs, this is where you’d have slept. Again, this pulled the room together for nearly eight years, until my wife came down the stairs with the red recliner chair, and declared it was time for the futon to go.

I couldn’t argue. We needed to shed as much weight as possible to save money with the movers, and the futon was as old and busted as it was heavy. The cats slept and sat on it more than I did. My daughter only needed it for when she stayed overnight for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we still had the living room sofa for that.

For a silly moment, though, it seemed like a betrayal. I had taken the covers off to wash when my wife came down. Little did my faithful futon know that those covers weren’t going back on.

We had to take the futon apart again to get it upstairs. My wife took it in pieces to the thrift store, and they accepted them as-is. I’d like to think they put those pieces back together and the futon found a new home, but, honestly, this thing was trash. So much was bent, ripped, or flat broken. 

The red recliner did look good, though, didn’t it? It really freed up a lot of space. I took some photos before moving it in.

Yeah. Lots and lots of space. Woo-hoo.

I was looking at my files the other day and noted that the last time I had done anything with my latest novel, The Wrong Kind of Dead, was on 3 May, a little over a week after the futon left my office. I laughed, because it’s no coincidence. Maudlin as it sounds, my heart went up the stairs with that old and busted futon, and that was it for any and all creative output from a room that was once mine.

After losing six weeks to that, plus another month in the Hotel Purgatario, I’ve been grinding through another two months fighting to make this new office with its new layout, upstairs and 200 miles away, my creative comfort zone. I’m almost there. It must be true; I’ve been telling myself this for months now.

Meanwhile, a moment of silence for a piece of cheap broken furniture that pulled a room together, and made it a cozy home. 

Damn this 2016. I’ve had to say goodbye to too many people, places, and things this year. It’s really hard to get past a lot of this. I know it’s not just me, but that doesn’t help, either.