Being the Couch (400)

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It is time, I think, watching the spot on the wall that I watch and sometimes practice not watching. It is time for her to come home. I feel grateful to face the clock, that I can know when to expect her through the door with the whoosh of air that would give me goose-flesh if I were fragile, the way she is. But my fabric is thick and stuffed. I am always warm.

She is late and I wait. I feel jealous of the bus and the dirty seats where she sits, one leg tossed carelessly over the other, her nose in a book and headphones nestled in her ears. I can’t help feeling jealous; I am alone, and I am hers; they are plastic flat seats of a common bus, with constant company.

Anticipation is torture. My fabric is tense in expectation, as when she sneezes and I imagine her staying home all week, away from work, near me all day between soup and juices and dozing naps. I know she prefers sleeping with me anyway, that I am more comfortable, more informal than the austerity of bed.

What terror it is, this stale loneliness. The room is claustrophobic. The air is dead and still. The clock ticks and I practice looking away now, because I am anxious. I would wish for a cat, but then, well – how does the adage go? “Be careful what you wish for…or something?”

Lord, now I’m talking to an empty apartment. The stools are hardly companions, so polished and unfriendly.

I fantasize a party; imagining her friends arriving and the wine, the crackers, all those sprawling people to sit here and sink into me. It grows late and I know I am fantasizing, but I can’t stop until whoosh, the door opens, and there is laughter. She is here.

With someone else – a man; I smell his cologne. One for company – at this time – is, well, nice I suppose, but probably I am being generous because she is here and I am happy and the soft air is washing over me.

They stumble across the living room, and she collapses onto me, pulling him along. I feel the voyeur; pleased and disgusted, but pleased yet. And I enfold them because I have to and I want to, because they are here and this is my duty, in all my yielding loyalty.

This post was written in response to a prompt by Write on Edge, which asked us to personify an object in 400 words or less.

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5 responses »

  1. A couch has never been so interesting!

    I love that he is jealous of the bus seats, and finds the stools to be polished and unfriendly. Stools really are unfriendly compared to a nice squishy couch.

    Great job with the prompt!

  2. I love how you kept the subject’s identity secret until the end! And the personification was all-out… especially how it actually started questioning its own sanity because it was “talking” to an empty apartment lol!

  3. This has made me look at my couch in a whole new way!
    You did a fabulous job with the personification. The jealousy, the questioning of sanity in talking to an empty apartment, the fantasizing about a party because of loneliness… perfect.

    I especially love: “the whoosh of air that would give me goose-flesh if I were fragile, the way she is.” You’ve portrayed the couch as her warm protector; stronger than she is, yet house bound and anxious about her every move while she’s gone.

    Bravo!

  4. Loved the couch considering a party, the conversation with an unfriendly room and the jealousy. The couch is a living, lonely thing or so it seemed.

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