Many years ago, after my grandfather passed away, Toby Joe and I inherited his couch. The couch is (forgive me, mother) sort of ugly. While it’s comfortable, it’s also a little homely. It’s green and blue and there are tiny gold diamonds all over it. Of course, it doesn’t help that the cats, specifically a small orange one, have adopted it as a scratching post. It’s the biggest, greenest scratching post ever.
In the time we have had Tucker, he has managed to pull off a part its right arm and pull out most of its gold hair, too. It’s losing. And slowly.
I like to nap on this couch. I have grown to sort of love it in that redheaded, one-armed step-child sort of way. I’ve woken up numerous times with its texture all over my cheeks (and my face as well).
Now that I have we’re a dual income household, we’re doing OK and have found that we can drop a buck or two on nicer things, like a car for example, and maybe even some furniture. Toby Joe has spent the last several weekends looking at new couches and armchairs. He wants a man-chair, pronto. Who am I to get in the way of a man-chair? Each and every time we have the dreaded furniture conversation, I suggest first getting rid of the ugly futon we bought when we arrived in San Francisco and had nothing to sleep on for several weeks. After that, we can talk about getting rid of my grandparents – I mean – the couch.
This couch comes up quite a bit. I think my mother likes everything that comes to mind when she sees it. The couch holds memories for all of us. The most prevalent memory that comes to my mind when I think about the couch is one featuring my grandmother who died several years before my grandfather. My grandmother used to sit on the left hand side of that couch, the opposite side that Tucker has a beef with now, thank goodness. When my family stayed at our grandparent’s house in New Jersey, we’d sleep upstairs in their finished attic – a room my uncle had to duck to stand in. From the stairs, just outside its door, I could look down and nine times out of ten she’d be sitting right there on that couch. It was really all I could see from up there, aside from a bit of the lamp and the coffee table. She would peer up at me, looking out from above her reading glasses, a lanyard framing her cheeks. She’d smile or say something cute. That’s what I picture when I think of the couch. That’s a most excellent memory. And for every one of mine, I’m sure my mother has 200.
The relatives on my mothers side of the family are slightly insane. But in a good way. I could go on for pages telling their stories. I have seven aunts and uncles on that side of the family. Which pretty much amounts to a whole lot of material. I firmly believe my grandmother deserved to rest on the left side of that couch for all eternity in reward for all that hard work. One of the most constant memories from the Wojcik family is this idea known as the “Wojcik Curse”. You see, for years anything that would go wrong for someone, albeit slightly, would summed up entirely using the simple sentence, “It’s simple. You suffer from the Wojcik Curse.” For example, should one forget to cut the little plastic tees off a new shirt or any piece of clothing and continue to wear it around like that for years to come, they suffer greatly from the Wojcik Curse. And to this day I still have a piece of plastic on a bra I have had for over two years. I suffer greatly from the Wojcik Curse.
During our wedding party in D.C., the couch came up again. It came up because Toby Joe and I had just found out we were moving to San Francisco. I wanted to break it to my mother easy. I did so in front of extended family while preparing for our party and everyone was standing around pretending to like our boxed up apartment.
Mom, I think we might need to get rid of that couch. I’m not sure it will fit in the bins with us.
My mother’s face changed. (Oh god, what have I done.) Not only did her face change, but one of her sister’s face changed as well.
Can you find someone to take it? It’s a nice couch. It would be so sad to just leave it on the side of a road someplace.
The other sister, this one:
shook her head and made a ppphfft sound with her lips.
Michele, you can get rid of that couch if you want to. It’s not like it’s actually grandpa, for crissakes!
This hadn’t ever consciously occurred to me. Which is a good thing, too because sitting on my grandparents is not something I ever would have wanted and leaving them on the side of the road isn’t something I wanted, either.
My mother laughed at this. Might I actually be leaving my grandparents on the side of the road someplace? What if some deranged local from DC decided to urinate on it? What if someone dismembered it, someone other than a 7 pound cat? This was an unacceptable idea.
So we moved the couch across the United States of America. And then six months later, after a similar conversation to the one above over the telephone this time, we moved it back across the United States of America. Today, that same green couch sits in our Brooklyn apartment losing a one-armed battle with an Orangemanistani terrorist named Tucker. And it’s second up on being “let go” – second only to a brown futon that no one would have loved if it had not been for the two of us.
If my grandmother were still alive today she’d have a hearty laugh over this Wojick curse – the new Wojick curse – the Curse of the Green Couch. I imagine she’d laugh long and hard and my grandfather would just shake his head and smile. And then she’d go into the kitchen in her nightgown, pull out the buttermilk and the flour and make me some galletes.