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I want to sit with you on a couch in Pottery Barn and talk about whether or not we should make this purchase. The sales associate, a middle-aged woman in a smart dress, will hover nearby. The couch and its surrounding cousins – an entire living room set-up – will be trendy and comfortable, warm and cool.
You’ll be the sensible one in the discussion.

“It’s an insane amount of money. We can't afford even part of this set-up.”

“But we can. We have the money.”

“But then we won’t have it."

“But then we’ll have the whole thing. We’ll come home and see it filling our living room, and we’ll put down our bags and fall into it. The kids – yours and mine – will climb over it. We’ll have to remind them to put their drinks on those coasters, but we really won’t care because the stains will add character to the coffee table. We’ll watch movies on this couch. We’ll hold family meetings on it – somebody will get in trouble and we’ll dole out punishment from right here. We’ll talk about college on it.”

“You’ve thought about this.”

You'll say this in a very middle-aged, seen-everything, charmed way. I want you to be in love with me because I think in this simple way.

“It’s so much money,” you’ll say. “We can find something much cheaper, and this sales woman is freaking me out. Is she watching us? I can’t think. This needs to be a sensible decision.”

“What is sensible about a couch? Nothing. It’s a couch. It’s a life. It sits in a room and silently witnesses everything. There’s nothing sensible about purchasing a couch. For this reason alone, it could be the most important purchase we ever make together."

You’ll raise your eyebrows in a show of disbelief.

I want a history of purchases with you, some good and some bad. I want to look at something in our home, point at it, and say, “Not a good purchase.”

“You want this because you’re a yuppy. Yuppy yuppy yuppy,” you’ll tease. 

You’ll be smiling when you say this because you love this about me, even while you hate it. Your hair will be coming down a little. I won't reach over to touch your faint crow's feet, but I will think about it. We’ll both be at least one day removed from a shower, and we’ll see this fact as a small rebellion.

“So, we’re getting it then?”

You’ll laugh and tilt your head into the cushion. Lone shoppers with serious don't-talk-to-me expressions will wander by, looking at the couch that we’re sitting on. They’ll see the price for the whole set-up and keep walking. 

An old couple will shuffle over. The woman will pause, angular and curious, and she'll point at a small iron bird sculpture on the coffee table. She'll say to her husband, “Isn’t that interesting.” He’ll nod and grunt. She'll smile at us, and they’ll shuffle along. 

I’ll lean over and, while looking at the still-hovering sales woman, whisper to you what I want to do to you on the couch. You’ll blush and shift. 

You’ll take a deep breath and put a warm hand on my knee. 

“Okay,” you’ll say, “let’s get it, the whole set-up.” 

“Really?” I'll be genuinely surprised.

You’ll nod, perhaps biting your bottom lip.

“Right now?”

“Are you having second thoughts?" you'll say. "There’s nothing sensible about this.”

“Okay then.”

All along, you wanted it. You are not sensible. 

I want this. I don’t want other things. I don't want to be too afraid of us. I don’t want drunken nights and hours left unexplained. I don’t want lies and arguing, screaming and leaving, hanging up and calling back. I don't want text wars; please, can we stop the text wars? I don't want the kids – yours and mine – seeing this insanity. I don't want to think about the breakthrough moment, 20 years from now, on a therapy couch, when they each point the crooked finger of blame back to that moment, this moment, the moment we are in. 

I don't want what we already have. 

I know things have been hard. I know things have gotten out of hand. We both have our issues, gigantic and menacing. We’re not middle-aged; we're children in adult bodies. We've already written entire dysfunctional road maps, with directions to specific relationship failures. We have no money; we treat each other poorly. We call each other the exact things that we know will hurt the most. If we think these things, why are we together? It’s not sensible.
I just know what I want and what I don’t want. 

I want boring nights. I want early bedtimes. I want planned trips to European capitals. I want an annual trek to New York. I want to sit on a couch in Pottery Barn and talk about whether or not we should make this purchase. 
I actually saw a couple doing this. Who does this?

I know what this sounds like. I know how awful it sounds. 

I want to eat pho with you after buying the whole set-up, as a celebratory late lunch. I want to do the crossword together. I want to come up with a project idea and get excited about it with you. We'll talk on our cell phones at the same time in the car, interrupting the other with questions about times, places. Saturday errands will stretch longer than we thought, and this will be the excitement of our weekend – that things didn’t go quite as planned. We'll talk about maybe seeing a movie with another couple that night and then not go. We'll go home and have sex in the late afternoon, before the kids get home, with the windows open, letting in the sounds of traffic and breeze.

We'll have dinner in the kitchen at an unconventional time. The kids will complain about how goofy we’re acting. They'll ask us if we’re stoned because we’re acting so goofy. But, to be clear, neither one of us will be stoned.

This is what I want. 

I want to fall asleep while watching a Saturday night, hour-long crime drama. I want to wake in the middle of the night and go down to the kitchen with you and eat ice cream right out of the carton, even though you don't allow the kids to do this. 

"Why?" I'll say when you repeat that it's not allowed.

"Because it's germy. It's not right. Because," you'll say, offended in your cotton nightgown. You'll have boundaries like this that are never broken. I want us to have boundaries. But I don't want to use the word "boundaries."

I want Sunday to arrive without a plan. I want a friend to come over in the afternoon, unannounced, and in mini-celebration of this I want to open a bag of lime-flavored chips and pour a bowl of medium-hot salsa, and I want the entire family and the friend to gather around it, like a little bonfire for hands and mouths. I want the conversation to focus on strange, funny, random things that have happened to us. 

When the friend leaves, I want to wander out to the front yard. I want our neighbors – the older couple that likes us because we're younger than them – to walk by with their big Lab. I'll pick up the dog and hear the laughter from the older couple because the dog feels funny about being cradled. 

We'll chat in the yard, dusk seeping over the trees. I'll glance at you, and we'll know: We love this couple. We need to think of something we can leave on their doorstep on Christmas Eve. We need to do favors for them when they start to get too old and weak.

We'll go back inside, to our living room, to our couch. We'll turn on a movie, with the kids around us, talking over it, telling each other to shut up. You'll nudge me with your foot, for no apparent reason. 

I want the moments to pass, one into the other, and each one carrying with it a look on your face that is safe, happy, surprised, sad, everything. I want years to pass like this. I want you to say you want this, too. Of course you do. 

But we are chaos. We are children. We say things. We hurt each other. We hate each other for it. It’s one thing I love about you. 

I want a boring, nothing life that passes practically unnoticed. I want nothing and everything that is sensible. I want to sit with you on a couch in Pottery Barn and talk about whether or not we should make this purchase.

Forever after at

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