Talking to a Chair

One Republican convention. One master director gone off the rails. One chaise longue in need of a home. My chair story is the kinder, gentler one. No Eastwooding involved.

Seven years ago this summer, I packed my home in New Haven and followed the moving van to Massachusetts. I was taking a new job in the Boston area; I was also on the cusp of a sparkling new relationship. Two years later, I packed my home again. Followed the moving van north. Again. This time, I was moving in with my soon-to-be  husband. Since then, we’ve been stepping gingerly around our overstuffed house. Pushing two households into one is like trying to put an egg back in the shell. It’s slippery and something is going to break along the way.

We’ve done a pretty good job. This month we made a major furniture purchase. It’s a modest-sized sectional with lots of room for movie night cuddling and plenty of decorous seating for when we’re entertaining a crowd.

The chair story? When the sectional moved in, that meant we needed to re-home my husband’s over-sized black leather chaise lounge. It meant weeks of talking through his emotional connection to it. The chaise was a post-divorce, bachelor purchase. It was a guy-style piece of furniture. To be exact, it measures 48×72. It seats one person comfortably sprawled; two snuggling. Our chocolate lab has decided it’s just right for naps in the sun.

Finally this week, he agreed to post it with our online town group. We’d take best offer. Within 24 hours, we had someone interested. I was afraid that the couple would arrive and my husband would somehow dissuade them from the purchase. But then, it turned into: Things Happen For A Reason.

The couple who arrived at our door last night were the parents of a local teenager –and we had heard their story, though we didn’t know them. It was one of those stories that make any parent grab her own children and hug hard. The 16-year-old developed leukemia. He died two weeks ago.

As they walked from their car to our front door, I said “maybe we should just give it to them.” I knew that wouldn’t be right though. They needed strength, not pity.

They took turns trying the chair; she said that they were remaking their son’s room. It had a TV and they had started looking for a comfortable piece of furniture. Her husband settled in. “I could sit here for hours with my laptop.”  They checked the chaise for flaws and found nothing except well-earned wear, the leather rubbed to the softness of a biker jacket my husband favors.

We struck a deal on the spot. As they left, my husband and I were both teary. Who could believe that our empty chair would find the home it needed? If this chair could talk, I know it would say thank-you.

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