My husband has come a long way since we first met. When we began dating nearly eight years ago, he was renting a house with two girl roommates. The layout of the house they shared was such that it had two living rooms. The girls had theirs to share, and Kit had his own. The girls had a dainty, neutrally-decorated living room that was inviting when company came to visit—it was actually lovely. Kit had the living room of a 12 year old serial killer. The carpet was dirty and stained, the furniture was all mismatched and worn, the television was on a table that could have collapsed at any moment, the walls were coated in horror movie posters, and there were horror icon toys and superhero action figures in various places throughout the room.
Among the mismatched furniture was a 70s retro not-so-chic couch that had a camel brown and royal blue large checkered pattern. The cushions were all sunken in and to top it off, it bore the enticing aroma of cat urine. His roommates had cats that would lounge and piss all over the couch. Even after repeated cleanings, it still reeked. If you sat on the couch for even a minute, the surface of your clothing that touched the couch would smell of tinkle. I can’t believe he kept that couch as long as he did.
A year after we had been dating, Kit moved out of the house and got a condo with a friend. We were not quite ready to live together, so he and his roommate signed a one-year lease, and then we were going to see where we were in our relationship. Due to the fact that I was still living at home and technically didn’t have any living room furniture of my own to contribute, I felt I didn’t have any right or authority to make him chuck the couch. Once we moved in together a year later, however, I made new furniture the first item on my agenda.
I was not about to donate this nasty, old couch, only for some pour soul to quickly notice how foul their “new” furniture really was—I’m not even sure if the Salvation Army would have deemed it in a condition in which they would accept it. It was not salvageable. So we had a friend come over and help us carry the old sofa downstairs and we set it next to a dumpster on the property.
We noticed that others in the complex would place their discarded items out next to the dumpster, so we followed suit—we really didn’t know what else to do with it. In addition to large items by the dumpster, it was common to see other items as well—be it an old VCR, television, bed frame, computer, etc. It was understood that items set next to the dumpster instead of placed inside of it [especially things that would easily fit into the dumpster], were items that simply were no longer wanted or had been replaced by their owner—they weren’t necessarily broken or destroyed. If an item was set by the dumpster, it was up for grabs.
I heard people outside soon after unloading the old sofa by the dumpster, so I looked out of our living room window. I was taken by surprise to see an older lady directing two younger men into her condo across the parking lot and they were carrying my husband’s old couch with them! I could not imagine anyone wanting this stinky, ugly, old, retired couch. I so badly wanted to warn her and assure her that she really did not want it, but I was too embarrassed to reveal that I knew this about the couch because up until about 20 minutes prior, it had belonged to us.
The next morning I was leaving for work and noticed his old sofa back out by the dumpster--it had been thrown out twice in the same night. It mustn't have taken her long to realize why it was out there in the first place and also wonder why it hadn’t been put out there long ago.