Abandoned Chair

Shelley couldn’t believe Tracy had just left the chair in the back alley like that. That chair that had been her mother’s. She had sat upon that very chair for six years of college degree completion. The chair that after it’s first messy repair job had stayed out on the front porch and became Shelley’s smoking chair, until she quit when Brandy passed away. Shelley mourned the loss of the chair, and her only daughter, from her life three years ago when she put it out next to the trash can in a rage. She hadn’t really wanted to get rid of it but was purging everything from her life that had come to her before her daughter passed away. She only wanted to be surrounded by new things, not ones with countless stories tied up in the fabric and the wood.

Tracy, her neighbor until yesterday, had snatched up the chair before the trash truck arrived. Shelley saw her take it in through her back door. She felt relieved and betrayed at the same time. Relieved the chair wouldn’t rot in a landfill as soon as she had thought it might, and betrayed because the release she was seeking wouldn’t happen with the roar of the garbage truck condensing the chair into little bits like she imagined.

For three years she had watched from her kitchen window as Tracy was courted by David and then married. Tracy had given birth to their son, Cyrus, in their bathtub a little over a year ago. Shelley always was a polite neighbor, but harbored deep jealousy of the seemingly perfect life being lived next door.

One day Tracy had brought the chair to the back porch to sit in the sun. Shelley decided to pay it a clandestine visit.

“Hi, Tracy” said Shelley, “It’s so great to see the sun after all that rain, huh”?

“Oh Man, is it ever! I couldn’t keep Cyrus from jumping off the walls after the third of fourth day. He actually took a tumble off of this chair pretending to be a helicopter, and we nailed it back together just last night”

Shelley didn’t let on that the chair had been hers – that it was laden with so many memories.

“He didn’t hurt himself, I hope”?

“Nope, just a couple of little bruises. I swear that kid must be made of teflon”

Tracy cocked her head when Shelley said, “You know, household accidents are one of the leading causes of death of children. You’d better keep a close eye on that little whirlwind of a boy you got” She stretched her arms above her head and turned to walk inside.

“Uh…..yeah…..thanks for the warning”

 

Six months later Shelley began to hear Tracy and David fighting a lot. Every time it was something different – money, lack of sex, how to raise a toddler – all the usual stuff. Her kitchen window was placed strategically in such a way that if their windows were cracked even a little, she heard everything from their living room, kitchen and master bedroom. She took a tiny amount of pleasure in the fact that their perfect life wasn’t so perfect after all. She felt a little guilty about that, but it didn’t stop her.

Then yesterday, she saw the Uhaul trailer parked in front of their flat. She went out to investigate. Tracy said she and David were separating, and started to cry. Shelley knew this had been coming but, of course, didn’t say anything.

The next day the chair was out in the alley, nowhere near the trash cans. Seeing that chair, alone, sitting in the alley, next to the overgrown grass, and the beer bottle shards, Shelley couldn’t help but tear up at the thoughts of all the hours that chair had been useful to someone. She contemplated taking it back, making new memories with it, but decided against it. This time, someone she doesn’t know will take it and she won’t be bothered by the sadness. She could let it go now.

Abandoned Wooden Chair on Bull Island, Dublin

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