The Thinking Chair

From the Promptuarium: Being Afraid

 

We put the rocking chair up in the attic four years ago.

There isn’t a lot of light up there, but it’s dry and dust free. There are no rats or mice or even bugs trying to sneak in and make it their home.

We used to have a bug and rodent problem in our attic, but after we cleaned it out and put the chair up there- not in the center of the room but near the wall where the floor is firm, anything that creeped or crawled between the walls or down from the ceiling moved out the minute we shut the door behind ourselves.

We could hear them scuttle and sqeaking in a panic and then it was quiet, but as we walked down the stairs we knew it wasn’t really quiet.

We knew that chair was rocking back and forth, like it always does when we turn our backs on it.

 

I lived in the house with the Rocking Chair in the attic with my Aunt Val, my cousin Tilly and Mr. Fox our lodger.

There was nothing remarkable about our house- it was old, my Great Grandfather built in in 1914 and in 1933 my Uncle murdered his friend ,Hubert, in the dining room over a card game.

 My Uncle chopped his friend up into manageable pieces and tossed Hubert bit by bit into the Phinney River- he never got caught.

The entire family knew about it though, we also knew that our Great Grandmother sat in her rocking chair next to the window and kept an eye out for unexpected visitors as our Uncle chopped and our great grandfather wrapped up the pieces.

She was working on the squares for her quilt that she was making at the time and as she sewed, she shouted out instructions to our Uncle and Great Grandfather about where to take the pieces of our Uncle’s card playing frriend and reminded them that daylight was not on their side.

The quilt is on my Aunt Val’s bed to this day- it has birds embroidered on each little square. I think it’s very pretty.

 

The Rocking Chair in our attic has a nickname.

We call it the thinking chair.

When we have a little problem, we would sit and rock in that chair and look out the window until we got our answer.

It’s funny, the things that come to you when you just make your mind still.

 

It was just after my birthday, four years ago when I took a tumble outside on the ice.

I was at home alone that day and I sort of hobbled and crawled up the stairs and into the house and when I knew I was alone so I cried out and yelled all the way to the rocking chair and I fell into it.

All I could do was sit- that tumble had broken some bones in my foot and if I did as much as twitched a muscle my foot screamed and that scream traveled up my leg all the way through my chest and out of my mouth.

So I rocked a little to comfort myself and I looked out the window at that icey snow covered sidewalk and I went from wondering why Mr. Fox hadn’t shovled the snow off the walkway or even arranged for someone to do it for him the way he said he would.

Damn you Mr. Fox I thought.

But why put it all on Mr. Fox?

My Aunt writes all of the checks around here, she could have easily arranged to have that neck breaking walkway cleared.

The it came to me, as I sat there rocking- how to solve this little problem.

I rocked back and forth and I knew I knew what to use, how long it would take I knew daylight was not going to be on my side so, I pushed myself up and as the chair let go of me I whirled around and screaming foot or not I kept moving away from the chair.

It was still rocking.

Slowly.

Thoughtfully.

Expectantly.

 

After we got my foot taken care of and we got home we cleaned out the attic and we put the chair up there.

Sometimes we can hear it rocking, but we turn the tv up or we put the radio on or we talk a little louder.

We’re all still a little afraid of the rocking chair.

We know it’s up there above our heads.

Thinking.

The Jolly Family

RDP Monday: Chipper

Photo by Jeffrey Czum on Pexels.com

The Jolly family grow wheat and corn under a pale blue empty sky out in the middle of Nowhere USA

No kidding, the town they live in is called Nowhere.

The Jolly family have taken pride in the fact that their family settled Nowhere back in the”  Pioneer Days ” and that over the years as Nowhere grew and other people moved to  farm Nowhere, the Jolly Family took their place as the founding family of Nowhere and if anything happened in Nowhere- from  the Easter Egg Hunt to the Harvest Festival and the 4th of July Parade,  to the lighting of the Christmas tree in their little town square, the Jolly family had a say in it.

I’m sure you are wondering if   the Jolly family lived up to their name- well, they did.

They all had round red ruddy faces and their eyes were the same pale blue color as the sky above Nowhere. They all had the same smile and when they laughed- they’d squish their eyes up and wrinkle their noses and they’d flash their big white teeth but one thing needs to be made clear.

their eyes did not smile.

Their eyes were not Jolly at all.

Henri Matisse

Nowhere is just as vast and endless as the sky above it and with not as much as a tree to break up the flatness of Nowhere, it  might look like the Earth was competing with the sky for how much space it could gobble up and swallow.

It was a strange race to anywhere  and if you lived in Nowhere you might wonder if there would ever be a winner-you might also wonder what happened to the places Nowhere reached in that race, but more likely then not you would not care.

And there is one reason one  very big reason for that.

Out behind the Jolly family home, there is a picnic table and picnic benches in the center of  the yard and next to the kitchen door is a wheel barrel that has been turned into a planter, but all of the plants in in are dead.

The plants are brittle and dry and covered with cobwebs. Sometimes a bee or a fly gets stuck in one of the webs and anyone from the Jolly Family who walk by the planter can hear the bees buzzing as they struggle to free themselves.

The buzzing can go on for days. Once a bird flew against the kitchen window, broke it’s wing and fell between the planter and the house. It’s chirped and squeaked for exactly eight days before it died.

I’m sure the Jolly family heard the bird and they’ve heard the bees and the fact is- I am sure that they like hearing those sounds.

They must have.

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

There are Tikki torches set up around the yard,but they’ve never been lit and there are even lawn games set up but no one has ever played them and there’s a swing set that’s covered with mold and rust.

Sometimes the wind pushes the swings back and forth and spins the seats around a little too. That is pretty much he only time they get used.

Now we come to the reason that the people who live in Nowhere USA don’t ask why  they thought that moving to Nowhere was such a great idea or why staying out in the middle of Nowhere is an even better idea and why it is that you’d let a family called Jolly who seem to enjoy the suffering of Bees and birds with broken wings organize your Christmas Parade is this-

In the Jolly’s backyard is a big shiny yellow and green wood chipper.

It’s not like the lawn games or the swing set or the picnic table, it actually is cared for, it gets used and it is so loud that if you live in Nowhere it’s all  you can hear when-

you start to wonder for as much as a second or two,  if it might not be such a good idea to leave Nowhere and go…

Anywhere.