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It is said of the couch that it has a soul. I suspect what such counsel seeks to express is that the couch has a patchwork-soul made up of tiny soul fragments left over the years. In the same way a party might sit and leave an eyelash or a few wafers of skin, they part a wee parcel of their quality. Nothing to miss. The couch assumes those pieces, buries them in its cushions and wedges what it can into the shattering leather. It does not have a soul; not as one thinks of a soul, really. It can carry only enough of those ethereal shards that when its hosts our backs we experience an effortless familiarity. We recognize elements of our whole in the same way a tree recognizes kindred in a wooden table, the sun in a lamp’s lumen. Wooden tables and metal lamps do not suffer the same degrees of separation from their creators. Not like the couch; made by a machine to be unremarkable amongst many, many others identical. The red couch is devoid of our image. Its colors, its buttons, its seams have no semblance in nature or in us. It is through those superfluous pieces it found its way back; filled itself with the substance of its true creator. The red couch carries in its fabric just enough particles of soul and skin to proclaim itself one of us. And so, it seems alive when we touch it, curls around us when we sit, and sighs a thank you when we leave.
The red couch is the oldest thing in the office.