The other day, I walked into the living room and found two little girls taking apart my couch.
“Oh no. Why?” I flailed my hands in the air. “Why are you doing this right now?”
Clara was standing in front of the couch and was trying to balance the seat cushions up in front of it like a wall. On the opposite side of that wall, I saw Lydia’s head quickly disappear from view as she shrunk into the filthy swamps of the decade-old second-hand sofa.
I crossed the room and gently pulled Clara back out of arms reach of whatever it was they were constructing and then peered over the edge into the dirty guts of our living room couch. Lydia smiled up at me from where she was coiled up like a snake in a white Sunday dress. Next to her were several books and a bag of corn chips. She had a bundle of towels in her arms which squeaked a few times until she uncovered the tan face of a Guinea Pig that wiggled its nose at me in a very disrespectful way.
I sighed. “What on Earth is going on, guys?”
The little girl blinked up at me and smiled closing her eyes and showing too many teeth. It was not exactly reassuring.
Clara finally spoke. “Well… until you interrupted us we were about to start our ‘Sit Inside the Couch for 24 Hours Challenge’.” She said this as if it was a perfectly reasonable explanation. As if she thought I would simply step back and put a hand to my chest in apologetic dismay and say something like, “Oh, of course! The ‘Sit Inside the Couch for 24 Hours Challenge’. I understand now. I’m so sorry for interrupting. I should have known that you took apart a piece of my living room furniture because you are planning to camp out inside of it for 24 hours with nothing to live off of except a bag of corn chips and a terrified Guinea Pig, and you never thought maybe you should tell your family about this heroic plan of yours.”
But when I said exactly that, she did not seem terribly convinced. Her eyes narrowed and she put a hand on her hip in a sign of defiance. “Yes…” she said cautiously. “That is what we are doing.” She balanced herself on the arm of the couch and then hopped inside with a noisy sagging of springs and squeaking Guinea Pig.
“Alright. Okay.” I tried to veil my confused excitement. “Cool. Well. I’ll set a timer on the microwave for 24 hours, so, don’t get out until you hear that go off. It will be sometime tomorrow afternoon. I’ll be upstairs doing the ‘Pretend You Don’t Have Any Daughters for 24 Hours Challenge’.”
“Thank you, Dad.” said the couch as I scratched my head and left the room.