Five years ago, when I moved from my then-apartment to my now-condo, my sofa was damaged. The movers ran a long strap around the seat area to keep the sleeper frame from opening. I’m guessing this is what caused the problem. Because a month or so after settling in, things went awry.
“Why are your knees in your chin?” I asked Ex who was sitting on the sofa with his computer balancing on his lap.
“I am sitting pretty low, aren’t I?”
He got up, we examined things and sure enough the sleeper frame had separated from the sofa frame. On my hands and knees I peered under the couch. Besides a lone Cheetoh and two dust bunnies, I saw the metal frame resting directly on the floor.
“Lift that end up,” I instructed as I shimmied an upside down brownie pan below, thereby returning the frame to the proper height. “There!”
At the time, Ex and I both figured I’d linger in my new place for a year or so and then sell it and move to DC to be with him. It was a great idea save for the fact that a year later we broke up. Four years later, my sofa still sits atop an upside down brownie pan. I have the money. I even have an idea of the kind of couch I want to buy. But unsure if I want to move into Center City or move across the country, I can’t justify investing in new furniture.
In addition to the sofa frame falling apart, the cushions have officially lost their loft. It’s like sitting on a pancake. I’ve shoved spare pillows beneath to add some fluff and I flip them over weekly. No matter what I do, they remain flat. Then I had an idea.
“How are you doing, PJ?” my mom asks when I answer her call from Florida.
“Great! Guess what? I realized that if I take the cushions out of the covers, flip the padding around and stuff it all back in, my sofa sits way better.”
“Oh, that’s great! Listen, the reason I’m calling is because dad had an accident.”
For whatever reason, “accident” triggers the vision of him dropping a cereal bowl from his grasp, milk splashing across the tile floor. Never mind the fact that it has been a decade since my father had the dexterity to carry a bowl of cereal.
“He’s in the ICU with brain trauma,” my mother continues.
I fall back into the pillows, glance at the television, turn my gaze to my sliding glass doors. The soft glow of a street light shines like a halo against the dark night sky.
“He flipped his scooter by the club house, or that’s what I was told. Anyway, we’ll know more in the next twenty-four hours.”
“Okay, keep me posted and I’ll look into flights,” I say.
After hanging up, I call Leslie. She doesn’t answer so I call her again. And again and again. I place the phone in my lap and suddenly feel like I’m weightless, floating above my reality. It’s a curious sensation, hovering above that newly fluffed sofa cushion that five minutes earlier meant so much more.