6. The Downstairs Couch

Matilda, Heather, Sara, and Gertrude are in the room at the top of the stairs. I don’t know what they’re doing up there, but it sounds like they’re having fun, and I’m downstairs, separate, apart, alone.

Perhaps they’re solving the world’s problems. Maybe they’re discovering the joys of homosexual sex. Perhaps they’re phoning their analysts. It could be that they are making a quilt using the fur of various small rodents. Chipmunks, squirrels, rats, mice, moles, shrews. Needle and thread. Stab and wrap, placement and precision. They might be performing dark rituals and summoning demons to come and bake them casseroles. They could be surfing the web. They could be building a replica. They could be shaving the furniture. They could be bleeding the monkey.

The point is, I don’t know what they’re doing. And if I don’t accept my ignorance, I’ll become insane. Mad, I tell you. Or at least a bit troubled, as though I had a run in my tapestry. I pace in a circle at the foot of the stairs. I hear their voices, muffled by the closed door, rising and falling. Outside, it’s rain mixed with snow.

In the end, I go to the couch and park my hips. The cushions yield, as ever they should. It feels like new money. It feels like a well-oiled baseball glove. It’s my couch, and I am secure in its embrace. Everyone else can only borrow time from it. I give them my permission to do so.

The women in my upstairs room will have their time apart, and nothing will change that. Fortunately, I have a couch. I bask in the adequate luxury of sufficiency.

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