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Wanda L. Harrell

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The Sofa
By Wanda L. Harrell
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

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2011 Wanda L. Harrell

A very short story about how a piece of furniture has an impact on one's life.


Have you ever thought of the times gone by for a piece of furniture? I did so the other day, and I was actually surprised. This piece began as a new sofa, a gift for my birthday, and a replacement for the sofa we had in the living room that had seen better days. Although it was a bit more modern than I actually desired, the price was right. $188 and trip from Sear Surplus across town was how this blue-and-white checked sofa’s history began. Since my birthday is a few days before Christmas, its first days were spent in the light of the Christmas tree, serving its purpose for family and friends.


Recently, I began reflecting about the people who had actually sat on this sofa, and they were many over these last 18 years. There have been my children, grandchildren, other children, the elderly and every age in between who have sat upon its cushions. Family, friends and neighbors who dropped in for a visit, my children and their friends, ministers, and a salesperson or two all comfortably sat at one time or another upon the sofa.

The sofa silently set in the living room when my divorce went through in 1998, and when I came inside crying after saying good-bye to my last child as he left for college. Over the years, it has witnessed a lot, a lot of living, a fair share of crying and lots of laughter.

Moving with me, the sofa has occupied the same places as I, the house where I reared my family, a condo and this apartment. It has dutifully provided seating for gatherings of friends and family, and since I moved here, it’s been my preferred sleeping place. Actually, I feel safer stretched out upon the sofa’s cushions than I do upstairs in my beautiful bed.


Trying to recall professions of the people who have sat on the sofa since I became single again is almost dizzying. I really don’t know where to begin, so I’ll just start as they come to mind. There’s been a professional screenwriter, a retired JAG officer, a NASA engineer, engineers of other variations, an artist, an Internet tech originally from Africa, a teacher or two or three, a police officer, a man who worked for the IRS, singers, musicians, a couple of pilots, an international flight attendant, an employee of Homeland Security, an architect, an actor of stage and screen, and to quote a memorable scene in the King and I, ‘et cetera, et cetera, et cetera’.


The sofa has witnessed several first kisses, and upon the sofa’s cushions, many people I have loved and a few I’ve been in love with have sat. Amazingly, there are a few whose images remain so vivid I can still see them sitting there relaxing while watching TV and munching on popcorn, cuddling while listening to music or just talking.

Yes, the sofa has now seen better days, yet I am thankful for its dutiful service and the precious memories the sofa has provided me.










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