I had been warned by family, friends and Oprah. But it wasn’t until he moved her into our new home that I understood the severity of the situation. She had been hanging around the entire time we had been dating and it was no secret that I loathed her. So you can imagine the horror in my heart when I walked into our naked living room where she prominently sat with my sweet little poodle resting on her lap.
Wilma. The tattered, faded, nineteen-seventy’s recliner that somehow managed to survive hardcore fraternity abuse and no doubt ruined all opportunity of fabulousness for any room of which she resided. Yes, this despicable piece of furniture actually had a name.
I could see my love unloading boxes from the moving van, fearful that more surprises were in store, acknowledging the possibility that he would shortly be hanging a Farrah Fawcett poster over the fireplace mantle.
He and I had taken the recommended relationship courses before deciding to move in together. We discussed at length religion, finances, intimacy and children so I felt confident that we knew one another very well. But this was alarming.
I couldn’t decide if I would go ballistic and demand that Wilma be immediately removed, or say nothing and wait for him to bring it up. Perhaps he was simply playing a silly little joke on me, curious to see how his new roommate would react. I chose to bite my tongue and observe how it would all unfold. Experience told me that a huge fight our first evening residing together would not be a good thing.
He walked through the door, whistling happily, carrying my beloved Van Gogh painting. I couldn’t help but wonder if he actually thought that magnificent piece coordinated nicely with his disastrous old, rotting Wilma. Carefully placing the oversized picture on the ground he walked in my direction, picked me up and playfully twirled me around the room. Typically I would love this gesture of joy, but as he spun me around, he accidentally whacked my ankle on Wilma’s arm rest. I let out an excruciating scream which clearly frightened him, because he dropped me right there on the floor.
My guy swooped me up apologizing profusely, as he gently placed me in Wilma’s lap. It was shocking to my person but I had to secretly admit that she was a soft place to land. As if time stopped for a moment, it occurred to me why he loved this crusty old recliner so much. It was, in fact, the most comfortable chair I had ever sat in. Laying in her forgiving arms, I visualized how many times Wilma had comforted my sweetheart as he studied for final exams, nurtured hangovers and participated in naughty…gulp, activities.
At that moment, I made the decision that my man should have a “man” room. Deer heads on the wall, basketball hoop on the door, Farrah Fawcett poster over his desk and of course, his beloved, Wilma.
Later that evening I opened a bottle of wine and we sat on the sofa listening to Frank Sinatra. I had never been happier. I proposed a toast to our future, but observed a strained look on his face. “There is a huge elephant in this room” he blurted as seriously as a heart attack. I looked at Wilma and was excited to tell him about the “man room” idea.
He cupped his hands around my face and lovingly looked into my eyes. “My love, I don’t quite know how to say this…but…that Van Gogh painting has to be the ugliest picture I’ve ever seen in my life”.