Sofa So Rubbish – Short Story

grey sofa
sad sofa

A seagull pecked at the open stitch on my arm, removing food left by baby. It gobbled down the biscuit, pecked at my frayed fabric more before flying off, out of sight, into the cloudy, blue horizon.

It was busy, the dump usually was. Large machines worked to break down the rubbish, moving methodically around the yard. Skips came in at one end, pulled by mud encrusted trucks, and were turned out at the other, onto an already huge pile.

Iron machines then gather around the edges, and eat.

This scene, which I look upon now, is different to how I’ve spent most of my time. Rarely I’ve been so wet, or the glue between my joints felt so soft. My struts and bindings hang loose and slack but I still remember when I was taut and strong; my springs young and full of bounce. Now they are rigid with age, they hold the frail fabric, stretched across me. Fabric which was once deep grey, Teflon coated and hid every stitch I had.

All my dignity has gone. It faded with the material that clothed me, replaced with years of memories of bums, bodies. Colourful lives lived on, off and around me.

Before my family found me I stayed with other sofas. If I try really hard, I can remember the smell on the shop floor. It had had an odd odour of acrid fire retardant chemicals, a mixture of nice and nasty which made people sneeze. The gleaming windows smelled strongly of vinegar that would permeate the air. This is mixed with memories of the families who trailed past me with their children crying, and sometimes laughing.

I’d watch those parents clutching their offspring’s tiny hands. My young springs enjoyed the challenge of little feet jumping on me. There are echoes of scolding voices travelling in the air around me, recalling the parents’ wary, caring warnings.

The day my owners found me was a special day, an adoption of sorts. I stayed with them and served them until the paramedics came and found them without any warmth left within their bodies. There was half a century between the day the bought me and they day they left me. Fifty glorious years that went too fast.

Mr and Mrs Gold, not long married, came into the shop one cold, bright spring day. They’d saved money from their wedding day and, as they were expecting their first child, decided to buy a sofa. They saw me, looked at each other and sat down. As we touched the joy which swept through me was intense. I understood my desire and purpose was to serve them. Then, worryingly, they got up and walked away.

Devastated, I watched as they spoke with the man who walked around with the clip board. He and I had a strange relationship. He didn’t sit on me. He used to come up, almost sneaky like, push on my pillows then poke me. Perhaps he’d write down something on his clip board before walking away and doing the same to another of the waiting sofas.

They all sat together around the shop desk, and according to the wall clock, it was an hour before Mr and Mrs Gold stood up again, shook hands with Clipboardman and left the store. Afterwards, Clipboardman laid a notice upon me and no one else sat on me for the rest of the week.

On Saturday morning, the rosy cheeked packing women came with a large trolley full with bundles of packaging cardboard. Laughing and joking they moved around me. I felt special as they pulled up my cushions to place them in plastic bags. I was being protected. They wrapped the plastic from my cubed feet up over my back by running around me with massive roll which was almost as big as they stood!

Still chatting loudly, they heaved me up onto a trolley and wheeled me out of the shop. The light outside was harsh but the air smelt different, fresher and sweet. The sun heating up the plastic and I soon felt uncomfortable standing on the hard, dirty ground.

Then a noise I’d heard often before, suddenly, loudly surrounded the air around as the furniture truck backed up to the warehouse loading bay. I was hoisted up and slid ungraciously onto it. Clipboardman gave the truck driver a nod as he took the trolley away and pulled down the heavy metal door, leaving me in the dark.

My fear at being bundled off the dirty truck and manhandled through a doorway, which, at first, was seemingly too small, was forgotten when I realised I had arrived at the home of Mr and Mrs Gold. This was my family. They had chosen me! At full price too. Their home smelled of vanilla and roses.

Very different to now.

The smell of the decreasing pile of garbage, I am currently part, wafts up my nose and makes me want to vomit. The seagull is back tugging at something buried deep in my back. Squawking loudly, it’s attracted four others. Hungrily they rip me open. I feel the half-eaten chocolate, still partly covered in foil, jerked out from between my springs. I feel sad, as I’ve lost my treasure.

Remembering the intense feeling of devotion I breathe in the memory of how I used to feel, there was no furniture in The Gold’s house as important as I. The mother would sit to feed and cuddle the baby. The father would sit playing with mother and baby for hours, days and weeks. They’d sit together watching television or reading books day after day, week after week, month after month, then years and onto decades.

The baby had grown to a child. She’d felt so safe, so secure that her dropped snacks would be secure. She trusted that I would I look after them. For twenty years I did guard them with my soul. There were times when I thought she’d come back after she grew up and moved away but she never did. Too late now. Perhaps she’ll never know how I failed her.

The gulls fight over their prize. Squabbling in the sky. Teasing me with their cries. As if I wasn’t aware of where I was. I see their freedoms. The machines are getting closer. Beneath my left foot is nothing but air. I hang on. I see men with orange, hard hats pointing up at me and see their mouths move in serious speak.

This was the last place I can stand. Soon I will tumble down the pile and be pulled apart by the metal mouthed monsters. I defy gravity and hang there, just for a moment longer, swinging freely in the wonderful air. I view the world in one glorious flash as I fall.

By Samantha “unextraordinarybint” Harris