***Hello, VSB nation.We have a treat for you today. S. Nicole Brown is here again to bless the VSB pulpit. Sit back and enjoy***
With obvious hyperbole, there is nothing like being able to open the door to your home, strip down to the bare essentials–or just to the bare–pour a glass of wine, and listen to the soothing notes of John Coltrane fill each room as he sings an ode to Naima with the pads of his fingers, no voices asking who ate the last slice of turkey, or in an one-sided argument with the TV over a bad call. And you havenâ€™t fully lived (alone) until youâ€™ve grabbed a brush or invisible mic and pretended you were Beyonce at Madison Square Garden or performed â€œAin’t Nobodyâ€ along with Chaka Khan at the top of your lungs for an audience of no one but your mirror.
There’s a delicious peace in being with and by yourself, happily feasting on a big spinach salad with a side of green juice one night, and questionable Chinese “meat” and Starburst ice cream the next, with no regard to what someone else might want to eat, drink, or have to say about the curious sweet and sour slop on your plate.
But as wonderful as blasting Jazmine Sullivan while eating ice cream in comfy Target-sale Hanes while watching a Bridezillas marathon may be, my absolute favorite thing about living alone, is the ability to decorate a place to my liking. To make the the space within the walls I’ll be inhabiting mine completely, if only for the duration of a year-long lease. To create a home out of the emptiness, with fresh white orchids in the kitchen on Sundays, plush green towels in the linen closet, and Abeena and Ameena, my two very fly bald African priestesses, hanging in frames on the wall in the entryway, greeting each visitor at the door.
Moving to New York presented an opportunity to do just that: mold from scratch a cool, hip space in the greatest city on earth. Having sold or given away most of the furniture I had in Michigan, I was so excited to start anew. I lived on ApartmentTherapy.com, drew sketches and floor plans of what the finished product would be. I made lists, noted every detail, every piece of art.
A change of plans soon presented a small glitch; I wouldnâ€™t be living alone. But, given the free rein I was assured Iâ€™d have if I moved in with Beau, I wasnâ€™t worried.
In my head it was perfect: an autumn-hued living room straight out of a scene meant for Love Jones or a dimly lit lounge where everyone snaps instead of claps. We’d have Mahogany tables with volumes of poetry and philosophy fanned out like literary peacocks, eat from hand-glazed Pottery Barn bowls, and span our impressive collection of Important Books against two entire walls of bookshelves, stacked floor to ceiling. Unique and meaningful art found at cultural festivals or made by me would occupy the walls not covered with books.
Of all the decor plans I had, none included the ugly brown sofa that took up roughly one-fourth of the living room, smugly letting anyone who entered know what the prized centerpiece of the largest room, and therefore apartment, was.
“Do what you want.” Beau said as I looked around and squealed in delight upon first seeing the rectangular abode for which the rent was toodamnhigh. It had so much potential: nice hardwood floors, plenty of wall space, a setup not backwards like some I’d seen while shopping. “But I’m keeping my sofas.”
I felt like he’d suddenly cursed at me. Like heâ€™d somehow just insulted my family name. Â In a scene right out of Think Like A Man, Heâ€™d actually chosen an old couch over My Vision. “But … It’s brown. Dirt brown. And not even true dirt brown. It’s like an ashy, throw-up, dirt brown.”
He was not amused. “I like my couch. It stays.” I knew by his finite tone and heavy plopping down on the cushiony blob he lovingly and hilariously referred to as Couchneesha, that there was no changing his mind. I was stuck with this impossibly unpleasant sofa.
I ran to my computer, discreetly deleted the beginnings of a Craigslist Ad I’d begun to find what I had thought would be the soon-to-be-orphaned sofa a new home. Iâ€™d known he was attached to it, but inseparable? This was not my NYC dream. How could I decorate around such a bland and uninteresting lump of a material?
I sank into its cushions, it welcomed my form like an old friend, its plushness inviting, homey even.
I hated it.
The cup of deeply pigmented red Rosehip Hibiscus tea sitting on the coffee table in front of it tempted me to move my arm clumsily, accidentally spill its contents onto one of the oversized cushions. I weighed the consequences and decided Iâ€™d just hate Couchneesha in stubborn silence, try to pretend it wasnâ€™t there being the big eyesore in the middle of the room.
Everyday Iâ€™d lounge in its comfort and plot ways in which I could convince him life without this sofa was better, only to be reminded that Couchneesha was his boo whom had always been there for him. If anything, I could count on a laugh out of his various responses, but sadly, never a â€œyouâ€™re right, letâ€™s get rid of it.â€
…That was a year ago.
Since then, his love for the throw-up brown sofa hasnâ€™t waned. Iâ€™ve reluctantly accepted that it will be with us until it decides to kick the dust, or has a tragic encounter with a cranberry juice and olive oil cocktail and needs a slipcover. When I casually mentioned I was writing about his microfibered love, â€œsheâ€™s such a good girl.â€ was his wistful response.
But Â as Iâ€™ve learned in living together, there is an endless supply of subjects and items to argue over and about, least importantly a sofa. Iâ€™ve learned that huge, pretty throw pillows are the antidote to Couchneeshas. And surprisingly, Iâ€™ve decided that the couch isnâ€™t so bad. Â Itâ€™s soft and plush and has grown accustomed to my form, my pretzel-crossed legs sitting on it for hours-long blocks, typing away on my laptop. The time spent and Â memories created (folded into one another watching movies, being tended to while sick, jumping on it and nearly killing myself in an hilarious episode of Â Of Mice and Muze) on this admittedly extraordinarily comfortable sofa have begun to slightly outweigh my disdain for its presence.
When this lease is up though…
S. Nicole Brown (aka â€œMuzeâ€) is a writer of fiction, lover of words, and chronic reader happily living the clichÃ©d under-spaced and overpriced life of a NYC writer. You can find her in 140 or less @muzeness or on her blog, Because Iâ€™m Write.
***This Saturday, October 6 is another edition of Reminisce, our all 90s everything hip-hop/r&b/dancehall party at Liv Nightclub in Washington, DC. Itâ€™s free before 11pm with RSVP (http://reminiscedc.eventbrite.com) and thereâ€™s an open bar from 930-1030pm with no dress code. Come to party, leave to remember. Reminisce. Peep the flyer and FB invite: http://www.facebook.com/events/325601340869364/ ***
***If you haven’t seen it already, Panama was named the “Hillman College Alum of The Month.” Not sure how one becomes the alum of the month for a college that doesn’t exist, but P found a way to do it. Kudos***
***Lastly, our fundraising campaign is still going strong. Check out our Indiegogo page if, well, today is pay day and shit***