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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

Michael and I bought a new couch. Really, I guess I should say that we are in the process of buying a new couch. IKEA was out of the arms and chase section of the couch we wanted. Now that I think about it, I have to a pause and ask "what the fuck, IKEA?" We were able to buy the two seater section, legs, and all of the covers, but no arms or chaise. I get that they'd be out of the chaise because the couch is modular, but ARMS?!? I went back on Sunday and got the arms. Michael will go after work on Tuesday and get the chaise. I put all of the pieces we have for the couch together yesterday, with the exception of attaching the right arm because that's where the chaise section goes. My knuckles are scraped and bloody from putting the covers on the arms and I have a paper cut from the cardboard box that stretches all the way across my forearm. We sat on half a couch last night. 

While we were in IKEA trying to decide on which couch to buy, I looked at Michael and said "we're buying a couch together." He thought about it and then nodded. "We are buying a couch together." I feel like that's even more serious than that time he bought a scooter.  We're taking my home and turning it into our home, which is more than just cleaning out a couple of drawers in my dresser so he'll have room to put his socks and underwear. Though, I am getting those drawers back because we also bought Michael a new bed with large storage drawers under it. When he opened up the drawers on my side of the dresser, which are crammed full, he asked me "how long have they been like this?!" I looked at him out of the side of my eye and said "since you moved in." 

I'm still guiltily surprised at how easy it was for me to stretch out into this space after Chris died. I had been so careful and consistent in getting rid of clothes so that the clothes I kept fit neatly into my half of the dresser. It is not that I stopped cleaning out old clothes. I just got less selective in the things I tossed even after I moved back into just the three drawers. I stretched out, spread out and then had to real it all back in. Things that didn't get tossed during the shrink back phase suddenly found new homes stuffed into nooks and crannies. There have been times when I have felt overwhelmed by confining myself back into my old space because it doesn't fit the way it did before. My house went from all mine, quiet and orderly to Our house, noisy and just on the brink of exploding into chaos. Containing the clutter is an endless task. I throw out mail and neatly stack the things Michael ends up dumping onto the table daily.

And there have been so many bitten tongues. "Can't you see I eat my breakfast there every morning?" "How many cups do you need in the living room?!" "You really think it's a good idea to put knives, pointy side up in the dish drainer?" These are all things I have thought and not said out loud because I recognize the bitchy nagging sound of those words. But there have been moments where I've felt myself snapping and on the verge of yelling "OUT! GET OUT!" We can be together and not live together right? Instead of snapping, I notice how hard he's trying. I notice that he's doing his best and that he has spent a long time living in this space on my terms. I am no longer making this space mine. We are making this space ours. There is no moving backwards now. We've bought a couch and in order to split that couch up, we'd have to buy another pair of couch arms. 

And who knows when IKEA's getting more of those.