If I were a piece of furniture I’d be a 86″ sofa, leather, with deep seats. I’d be the real thing – leather – not walrus leather, or Naugahyde, pleather, or plastic looking leather. I’d be the first piece of furniture people would congregate to when in a room. My deep cushions would temporarily suck derrières downward, and when people would lean their backs into my pillows, women would briefly close their eyes and sigh. Men would sink too, but wired so as not to show their feelings, they’d cross a leg over a knee and quietly fart into a cushion, scanning the room of guests with their eyes. Who to talk to, what to discuss, which topics to stay away from?
I chose a sofa because I believe it’s the most dominant piece of furniture in the room, the Cadillac in a parking lot, front row seat to capture more attention than all other pieces of furniture. I’ve owned 6 sofas in my life, some built with good bones, others bought used and dying not long after. The one I own now was a steal from a consignment store, and is a real leather sofa made by Lazy Boy with attached raised ottomans at either end. This sofa you can sink into, and not be found for days.
I once entered a writing contest about a sofa, where the family gathered around it during a reunion. Conversations occurred all at once, five people talking about five different topics at the same time. I thought it would be a close contender for the contest, until I heard the contest had been closed, due to lack of entries. I was really bummed. In reality, though, a sofa is indeed where family members gather at all times day. They bring snacks that crunch deep between the cushions, unattainable under the dark recesses of its underworkings; it’s where some people nap, drooling under the side of their face and temporarily locking their skin against the leather. It’s where virgins make out, Stacy pinned under the Austin, whose hummer feels exciting and creepy at the same time. As he rubs himself against her thigh, fast, faster, and faster, the leather gives away nothing to the parents, watching TV while cleaning up after dinner. No squeaks, no uneven legs pounding the bare wooden floor. He comes, and falls breathlessly, satiated, onto her chest, where even her humpf of surprise is muffled by the vast leather underneath.
The older dog, a liver and white English Springer Spaniel, age 10, holds reign as he straddles the rounded arm on the left, while the female puppy, a recent rescue, struggles repeatedly, with help from no one, to jump on the couch and snuggle against him. Up she goes, and slides back down. It’s only as she opens the webbing on her feet that she gains altitude and throws herself against his back. He growls lightly now, but in another four months, they’ll be best of friends, her teeth fully grown in, no longer pinching at his ears, whiskers or feet.
The wife rarely has time to sit, nice leather sofa and all. She’s at work all day, stuck behind a prison of a desk, then racing out the door to collect three children from three different schools, pick up an ingredient for dinner, drop a child off at baseball practice, park the car crooked at the curb, engine running, while her daughter races inside to get changed for Karate, and then they’re in flight again, dogs waiting patiently on the sofa for their evening walk followed by dinner at six. By bedtime, hers, she caresses the shoulder of the sofa on her way past, but that is all. Her husband has drifted to sleep with the older Springer aligned at his side, and the puppy, chewing the top of his sock into a piece of trash. As the wife pulls back the bed cover, the puppy falls into sudden sleep, as Top Dog and she frolic in a field of socks, paws pattering as fast as they can go.