White Couch

Sometimes the stains on your white couch will not wash away and you see that finally, you have come to terms with the smears and the grime and the stray marks…because that’s where some of the best lessons and memories reside, right there, ground into the fibers of the once white coverlet.

The facade of perfection has become muddied over the years. Others saw your pretense. Why on earth a white couch? They shook their heads and chuckled to themselves. Still, you pretended, resetting the white seat cushions into place time and again, adjusting the decorative throw pillows into each corner several times a day. Perfect positioning. You set the stage.

This couch, now grayish, has cradled you and your babies. It has held, for many years, all that you hold dear. You have sunk into the depths of the cushions for how long? The stains and marks show that the many years have begun to add up and the soiled canvas surfaces can no longer be washed clean to start anew. But now, you think, should you work so hard to erase the years of wear? Maybe not. Not anymore.

The advice to go with leather furniture, nine years ago, was ignored, for it would surely get too scratched by all the children and, you thought, “This is better. I can wash the white canvas. I can wash it clean every time.”

But all the washing will no longer undo these years of living…and that is the way of time. In this instance, and in many other instances in your life, you find that this is the way it has been going…that there is gray now instead of clean white. You see that you may have started to change…from the young mother who loved the fresh whiteness of her furniture (clean and crisp against the wall of the great room, which was painted a deep chocolate brown so the white furniture would pop) to the older woman who has begun to recognize that there is dirt all around. There is the passage of time and the white does not last.

You still try to clean the couch. You still balk when a child has the audacity to use your precious twill cover for a napkin. And yet. You see that time is moving so quickly. The pace is faster and you have trouble grasping and holding all the memories. Look at that worn couch. Just look at the years that have been marked forever on the surface of it. Sit on your couch that is no longer white. Sink deeply into the cushions with all the stains…and rest there to remember.

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