So, we finally got rid of the futon. It was broken, but I posted a full disclosure notice on the Charlottesville-Albemarle Freecycle list.
We showed Helen and James where the futon frame needs repair.
“I’m a carpenter by trade. This will be no problem,” said James.
Rick had already told me the frame could be repaired for under $10, so any guilt I had about passing on broken stuff, even for free, was really evaporating.
Helen, who lives on a mountain road nearby, said she’d had another futon, but had let it go, and had been wishing she hadn’t. They needed the sleeping space.
“We have two big dogs, but they’re not allowed on the furniture,” I told them, answering the common question about used furniture. “No cats.”
“Our dogs go wherever they want,” James laughed.
James and my husband Rick lifted the futon frame and began maneuvering it out the front door and down the steps. James was obviously a capable furniture mover, which to some may not seem worth observing.
However, I have moved a lot, and I have learned to distinguish many levels of furniture moving expertise. It’s not just strength, of course, but learning to make the turns, not scrape your knuckles on the door knob, not take any paint off the walls. While the futon is light and not really a challenge as these things go, you can still sort of see the understanding someone either has or doesn’t have about the process.
Mostly to make conversation, which is what I do, I said, “James, you’ve done this before.”
“Life,” James said, “is the continuous movement of futons.”
My brain wanted to superimpose a play on words — “. . . a continuous movement of photons.” This is also what I do. But there was no improving on what James has said, and anyway, I don’t know enough about wave theory to say anything legit about photons, these particles (?) of light, these carriers (?) of electromagnetic force.
I backed up, watched the futon mattress going out the door. The mattress that was purchased in Memphis, has been with us in Mississippi, in southern Virginia, in Central Virginia, full of our boys and our neighbors’ boys, a favorite perch for our exchange student from Ecuador, host to sleepovers and video game tournaments. Broken, repaired, broken, repaired. Broken, the final time for us, in front of the fireplace at Thanksgiving here in the mountains, when three of us sat down at once.
Charlottesville Craig’s List found us a used couch. Not free, but, really reasonable, you could say cheap, and both more comfortable and far prettier for fireplace sitting than the futon. From a nonsmoking, pet free home. From a couple in Earlysville, let’s call them Joan and Mark, doing a home renovation that calls for redecorating. They talked to us about their family, about our family.
The new/used Craig’s List couch arrived, pushed the broken futon onto the Freecycle list.
When we picked up the chair, Joan showed me the progress on their home renovation, told me about their Christmas, told me how she took care of her father when he was elderly and sick, gave me kudos for homeschooling. She also gave me some matching throw pillows.
After the futon was loaded on the borrowed truck in our front yard, pregnant Helen thanked us, shook my hand. I watched the futon recede down the driveway, disappear into the mountains, become smothered in sleeping people and contented, snoozing dogs.
Life is the continuous movement of futons.