One of my dear friends once owned a bright yellow couch. But before she had the yellow couch, she had an unfurnished apartment, perched on the second story of an old home on Cherry Street in the town where we went to college. I remember when I first came to visit my dear friend in her apartment, the block was shaded and green, tinted by the big old neighborhood trees. The old houses in Galesburg all sort of smelled the same, a touch of must, a Midwestern sensibility that I occasionally whiff in the back stairwell of my current apartment. I distinctly recall how enamored I was with my dear friend's home. A one bedroom, with big windows, and green light filtering in colored by the waving leaves pressed against her windows. I remember loving that she had her own bathroom, that her bedroom was quaint and organized. Her bedspread dotted with tiny red flowers, dainty and warm.
My dear friend moved into her second floor apartment after a breakup. She had to start over, there was no other choice. She took what possessions she had, and slowly, week by week, furnished her space into a home. She was given a bright yellow couch from a friend. It was covered in animal hair and needed some desperate TLC. So my dear friend rented a shop vac from HyVee, lugged it up a flight of stairs, and steamed it herself, "Like a real adult," as she said. The first time I saw the couch, it glowed. I mean it had a lemon yellow, electric, come-to-life glow.
My dear friend brought her electric yellow couch to multiple apartments across state lines. And every home I visited her at, I took great comfort in knowing it was still in her life. I loved reclining on in, falling in and out of sleep on an afternoon in April while visiting her in Nashville. I enjoyed playing with her cat, listening to records, and finishing a Dave Eggers book all while seated on her dear yellow couch.
Today my dear friend told me that the yellow couch has left her hands, put into the hands of a young lady who will love and cherish it. And all is well, because we loved and cherished the couch. The Universe gave my dear friend the couch in a time when she needed it most. She loved it, gave it a new life and a good home, and made it her own. I find this story so empowering. When I moved into my own studio apartment, the first and only time I ever lived alone, I lovingly furnished my apartment piece by piece over many months. When something was tough or out of reach or broken, I figured it out myself because I was all I had. When I was sick, I nursed myself back to health, because if not you, then who?
My dear friend is moving far across the country, which is why the couch has left her hands. And as I prepare for a journey of my own in the coming months, it is becoming more and more clear to me that forward is the only way I can go. Grad school is over. Relationships have ended, new ones begun. I walked across a stage, posed for photos, and defended my thesis with every ounce of energy I could muster. I searched for an opportunity, thinking only of the Universe and her gifts, of the forward momentum I need, and was rewarded. Here's to all of the yellow couches past and present, the gifts to be shared with all we love and cherish. Here's to casting away with old habits, forming new routines, and quests for pastries in new cities. Here's to all the goodbyes and hellos I will no doubt be saying in the coming months, and the chance to furnish a new home with yellow couches and only the best art I can bring. Here's to forward momentum and the gifts of the Universe.