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[personal profile] bookishgeek
You’ve probably seen one in more thrift stores than you can care to remember, looking appropriately stained and worn down by the grating sands of time: an old padded recliner, resting unassumingly in a corner, not taking up very much attention at all.

This particular recliner doesn’t sit in a Goodwill or Salvation Army, collecting dust particles as a hobby. It rests in an old one-story house in the suburbs of Georgia, taking its place as the crowning member of the family, sitting closest to the television and the telephone with extraordinarily large buttons. Its faded blue exterior attempts to hide stains well, but as all furniture eventually does, it has caved with time to the pressures of everyday living.

Thoughts of a recliner and who ought to own one spring forth often as you see it, alive with the glory of stereotypes: an old man in a worn-out shirt and blue jeans, a beer in one hand and the television remote control in the other. While beauty and truth are in the eye of the beholder, you would not be too far off the mark if your mind conjured this image up.

Its owner would settle down, gratefully, into its comfortable embrace. The chair welcomed this, stretching around his body, feeling a sigh ripple out across the room. The television would come on, the woman would sit nearby, knitting a blanket for someone, wind chimes would ring out in the distance, rain would patter against the old tin roof and the world would sigh as one, as if the chair and its occupants were the single most important thing the universe had to offer.

The old man and the chair, not too dissimilar from each other at the end of the day. They both sit stooped over a bit, and shake when pushed too hard. Their inner workings creak under pressure, and sometimes they both just wish everything would stop for a minute. Their home is made under a blanket of stars near Stone Mountain, where nightly fireworks ring out across the hills in the summertime. The man doesn’t enjoy these noises, though – too many memories of his old home in Hawaii, age sixteen, standing outside as the planes roared overhead the day of Pearl Harbor. He insisted for the longest time that he could make out the face of a Japanese pilot as he flew overhead. Most believe he did.

He went to war as they all did, moved to Georgia. The days of returning home, sinking into bed with bone-deep exhaustion have been replaced with shuffling from the bedroom to the living room. It’s much easier to let John Wayne do the fighting for you on the television after a while. Budweiser doesn’t shoot back when you break its top off, either. But one day, he stood up and shuffled off, and never came back.

His chair lies, waiting, not asking for much. A sliver of sunlight from the back porch, some reading light from the side table, the rare slip of a drop of someone’s misguided beverage. There had been a time when its life had been so packed full, busy. Children clambering all over it, laughing, fiddling with its faux-wood lever, pumping the footrest up and down. The metallic clang of guns from a television western, the music of rain falling on the tin roof, a cacophony of sound.

Now, there’s not much laughter. The chair waits for the light to come back, and sometimes it does, but it passes away fairly quickly again. It has settled itself into the ground, creating pleasing grooves to settle down and pass the time, waiting, always waiting as the shadows creep across the floor.

A place suspended in time, a moment, frozen over in a midwinter sheen. One day, things will change again. And until then it sits in the living room, just as it always has. Waiting, a thread or two of grey hair clinging to its exterior, shimmering in the low light.
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January 2016

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