Heidi JulavitsUSAWriting2014

May 2


Looking for Sanchez


Today I went looking for Sanchez again. Again I could not find him. Sanchez is legion in this town, at least amongst decorators and used furniture salesman. Sanchez is a reupholster and an impossible man to locate. I’m looking for him because I have a couch that needs reupholstering, and reupholstering, I’m starting to suspect, is a dying art, like blacksmithing or coopering. Sanchez might even be dead himself. His cell numbers, the four I’ve got, are all disconnected.


I could just buy a new couch, but then again I can’t. This couch has history. It is an heirloom of sorts, proof of the people my husband and I once were. Once we were people who cared about, granted, possibly the wrong things. We cared about couches. We wanted to stake our claim as interesting individuals by owning a highly unique couch. Then we became enlightened, or resigned. The couch’s purpose shifted. It became defiled. Now it is used as a napkin by our children. For the past nine years, this piece of furniture has wiped mouths and hands and absorbed milk, all kinds of milk. This possibly makes the couch sound more disgusting than it really is, though in truth it is pretty disgusting. This possibly makes us sound like parents without boundaries because who lets their children drink milk on a blue velvet couch which, when stained with milk, to be perfectly candid, looks as though people, and the assumption would be “us”, have had lots of sex on it? And now we expect our guests to sit on this couch, atop these stains, while eating olives and cheese?


I know people often fail to find disgusting or shameful the revealing grime and sloth of their own lives. My friend with the apartment covered, quite impressively evenly, with a layer of dog fur, makes no excuses for her dog or for herself. My friend with the kitchen that stinks of compost from a filthy plastic bucket kept next to the stack of clean dishes. My friend with the long black hair (not her hair, whose hair is it?) cemented by dried toothpaste globs to the bathroom sink. These people are not apologetic. I am apologetic. They are not trying to cover up anything, as I am trying, quite literally, to cover up the daily evidence of our poor judgment, our pure exhaustion. That’s what this couch is. A sign of exhaustion. I would rather not be needed for a brief two consecutive minutes then have a beautiful couch. I would rather search for coats I don’t need on ebay while milk is spilled than have a beautiful couch. I let the couch go because I felt confident that people like Sanchez existed in the world. Once I recovered my energy and my standards, I could enlist the help of a Sanchez. Sanchez would reinstate my former self. No slip is permanent, right?  But I can’t even leave him a message asking for his help. I can’t even hope that he’ll return my call.