The delivery of the new couch was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. In the morning, Hepcat moved the 18-year-old green leather couch against the window to make room for the new arrival. He was adamant about hanging onto the old couch until they were absolutely sure they wanted to keep the new one.
Then he went to the Metropolitan Museum with his mother who was visiting from Northern California.
At 2:50, the buzzer buzzed. Smartmom went downstairs and welcomed the Room & Board delivery crew.
“I’m going to have to perform miracles to get that thing upstairs,” one of them said.
He walked up to the third floor and took note of the narrow stairwell. He sighed and gave her an incredulous look.
“The couch is 92 inches. I’m not sure it’s going to make it round this bend,” he said pointing to the ceiling height at one part of the stairwell.
Now that would be ironic.
In less than five minutes, two men carried the couch up two flights of stairs, got it through the apartment door, through the dining room and into the living room. These guys were good.
And then came the moment of truth. They unwrapped the couch and placed it in its spot in the living room. Smartmom gasped inwardly.
It looked HUGE at first: like an elephant in a mouse hole. Maybe they’d made a mistake; maybe it was the wrong couch for the wrong space. Smartmom tried to stay calm.
“Here’s something for the miracle,” she said and handed the men a generous tip.
Once they were gone, Smartmom really looked at the couch and within seconds she made a realization: Not only did she love her new couch, she felt relief pulse through her and even the stirrings of pleasure and excitement.
Smartmom had a new couch and after all was said and done it felt good; really good.
“I hate it,” Teen Spirit said (as expected).
“You’ll get used to it,” Smartmom told him.
The buzzer buzzed again. It was Diaper Diva, a film and TV set decorator, and her daughter Ducky.
“I love it,” Diaper Diva said as she walked into the room. Smartmom was relieved: she lives for Diaper Diva’s aesthetic approval. Ducky made a beeline for the couch, which looked like a really fun thing to climb on.
Diaper Diva, always game for redecoration, started to move the furniture around. Ducky sat on the green leather couch as Diaper Diva moved it across the living room on its side. The 5-year old squealed.
When Hepcat got home, he approached the new couch like it was a dangerous animal. He moved around it and withheld comment. At one point, he placed his hand on the old couch; a touch point, an old friend.
She wasn’t sure what he was thinking, but he didn’t look upset or sad. Smartmom could tell that he was going to adjust. Eventually.
Later that night, Smartmom was eager to find a new home for the old couch. The day before, she’d put an ad on Craigslist, but an 18-year-old green leather couch from Ikea isn’t exactly a hot item.
She decided to invoke divine (or divan) intervention, and texted Pastor Daniel Meeter of Old First Dutch Reformed Church to ask if he wanted the extra couch.
“I already have an Ikea couch,” he responded. “What, no sale? Put it on the curb.”
Then she e-mailed her friend, Unitarian Minister Tom Martinez of the All Souls Bethlehem Baptist Church in Kensington.
“We want it, but it’s a question of room,” he wrote. “I’m all over it if I get the green light from the congregation.
Smartmom was thrilled. She immediately texted Rev. Meeter.
“I’m giving it to the Unitarians,” she wrote.
“The Unitarians?!” Meeter texted back. “They’ll put it on their altar to sit and discuss whether there might be a God!”
On Sunday after services, Martinez called to say that he “would gladly accept and pick up the couch.”
So on Monday morning, the minister came to Third Street. He and Hepcat carried the 88-inch couch down two flights of stairs. A former high school football player, Martinez was able to gracefully balance a couch walking backwards down steep stairs. Impressive.
The two men loaded the couch onto the rented U-Haul pick up truck, and Martinez was on his way.
Smartmom and Hepcat watched from their stoop while he drove up Third Street with 18-years worth of memories.
Indeed, that couch has witnessed so much of their lives. Smartmom breastfed Teen Spirit on it; they’d entertained many friends and family on it; they’d drank wine, watched movies, read the Sunday Times and the Friday Brooklyn Paper; ate dinner; listened to Teen Spirit’s songs; talked on the phone; and argued, laughed, kissed, read and slept on it.
When the Oh So Feisty One was less than a year, she jumped off the couch, fell on the floor and cut her lip. It was a toddler’s trampoline, a bed to many of Teen Spirit’s friends, the place where Hepcat’s mom sleeps when she visits
Smartmom napped on that couch when she was pregnant with OSFO. She cried on it when she talked to her therapist after learning that her father was dying of cancer.
Now it was on its way to Kensington, to a new life in an intimate house church. Sure, that was a cry from life on Third Street, but change was good.
Even a couch.