Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Blue Sofa

The most vivid memory of their life in that city of long winters was that of a blue sofa. It was a three seater with cotton upholstery of deep blue. They had bought it at the annual auction held by their University for an unbelievably low price. It came to them mottled with ugly stains, and with the thick upholstery frayed at the corners of the armrest revealing the teal colored inner lining. Each stain, they knew held a story within it. The first weekend they brought the sofa home, they tried to erase the tales with laundry stain remover. Subtle tell tale signs remained.

Over the days the blue sofa picked up from them newer, brighter stains. The stench of spices and hot oil that loafed around their apartment on days they cooked a real meal now clung to the sofa as though holding on to a long lost friend. Every afternoon sunlight fell on the top ends of the sofa and everyday it aged. It was an old three seater , frayed, faded and mottled with stains. Yet you couldn’t call it shabby. Old, used, dirty -yes. But not shabby.

Beneath its removable seat cushions it held a medley of things: a squished pop corn: a hair pin: an old pen: coupons- wisps of their history. On cold evenings he curled up on the blue sofa and drifted off to some mesmerizing landscape that PBS had been showing that evening. Some evenings he felt warmth radiating from the sofa, as though it could read his mind. She waved it off as his perception. A sofa after all is just a sofa. She felt she could write better papers sitting on the sofa with her fingers occasionally straying to caress the rough surface. It was as though the rough surface stimulated her thoughts. He said she was being superstitious. A sofa after all is just a sofa. This one in particular was an old sofa with a foul odor.

Moments before guests walked in one of them would hurriedly spray some cheap room freshener all over the sofa in an attempt to camouflage the foul odor. The effect was a heady mix of scents- over ripe bananas and spoilt milk- which left their guests’ olfactory senses bewildered. They never grew tired of narrating their favorite stories about the sofa – how they had brought it home strapped on the car late at night, how the single cushion that adorned it cost more than the sofa- tales that tickled their friends every time. Their friends never knew of the countless attempts they made at mending the tears and covering up the stains. It was an old three seater, frayed, faded and mottled with stains, and a sickening stench of spices and hot oil clung to it. It was the best sofa ever.

Friday, November 03, 2006