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February 25, 2012

The Chair

The chair was His favorite place of rest, relaxation and sometimes, the escape from daily work and duty. It was no extraordinary chair. It was there for years, watching Him grow up. It was in the corner of the room, not beside stove or window, but separated from other chairs that were around big table in the same room.

He used to sit on it and think about everything. Well, the most of His time, He would spend time with His mind blank, meditating. That was the only way He could relax and turn off. Staring at nothing, with His head down, it seemed that only He could see the events invisible to regular people, which took place on the floor, in the gaps between the wooden planks.
It was the way He liked to spend evenings after the work and before the sleep. It was until a huge change happened.
His beloved wife died. Only after her death, he realized how much He depended on Her. She was taking care of Him always, but He couldn't comprehend it earlier. Now, everything seemed shallow and pointless without Her. Great loss. Her radiant love and warmth vanished.

He had a Son and Daughter with his Wife. Kids understood death as something completely natural, something you couldn't escape in the end. It was just a matter of years when one human will stop breathing, and move away from this reality, into infinity.
Looking at their Father, they asked themselves. We see people born, and then we see them die. This cycle is as old as the Earth itself. How come nobody got used to it until now? People all feel death, but when the day comes - it's always tragical, unpleasant surprise. It changes life and thought about life.
Because of that, Father perceived his Kids as a senseless beings - and maybe they were. But They were convincing Him that They both miss Mom too. He didn't believe it. He marked them as cold, stone hearts. Slowly closing eyes on His own Kids, He spent the days sitting on that small chair in the corner. His work and duties of a Father were put aside. He turned off the world from his life. Sorrow and void filled His heart.

Time was passing by, but He unsuccessfully tried to stop it, make it go back, always thinking about his Wife. The images were appearing, and every detail from the most beautiful moment, came alive before his eyes:

The street corner where He first saw Her, with Her long hair swaying in the breeze, and the smile She gave Him - the unlocked door to Her heart.
Next, the image of them, lying under the blanket, in the night. Curled up together, feeling each other's body warmth.
The birth of His Kids: Wife holding Them in her arms and gently smiling at Him, raising the finger. Saying: There's Daddy.

He had a lot of good friends. Every day, at least one of them came to visit, chat, share the news, help him work, or just to make Him company at the end of the day. Friends really perceived Him as a honest and hardworking man.

After the death of His Wife, They started to come even more often to comfort Him: You have to leave it all behind now, but you won't forget Her. She'll be always with you. But as the time passes, You will slowly get over it. - Friends said these words, almost every time they visited.
He silently kept sitting and listening, without raising His eyes. As usual, He was staring at the floor. It seemed He heard nothing His Friends said, but suddenly, He stood up, yelling: You are all heartless, you can't understand the pain I feel. I don't need such friends around me, I need nobody! This is a false friendship! Get out!
His Friends looked at Him with a bitter surprise. Is the anger and shouting what you get in return for a friendly care and hug? They tried to talk some sense into Him but it was useless. He ordered all of Them to go, and never come back.
He locked Himself inside His anger and darkness. There were no more visits, the chatter and laughter hasn't been heard since then.

He sat on the chair over the next days, thinking - at least, He thought He was thinking. The chair was His sanctuary, shrine, a place more important than Himself. It seemed that the chair was giving Him life, always taking Him back in time, showing the images of bliss from the past. Even though Kids have been warning Him, He rarely could eat and drink. He didn't pay attention. He didn't want to listen, because They weren't His Kids. What did they put in my food? - He thought - Medication? No. The poison, so I could vanish from their lives.

The glass of water and a bite of bread were enough, when the hunger became unbearable. He had a clear mind, when He was plugged in into the electricity of reality, and when the body reminded Him for its basic needs. Then all of His feelings came back. He hated to get up from the chair just to eat and drink.
Only in those brief moments, when He was away from the chair, He noticed Himself in the mirror, but he would always look away, hiding His eyes from a pale, dried silhouette with long beard. Instead of asking, ordering, or yelling at Him to make a change, the man in the mirror would just turn his back and walk through the door into the dark. The same way as the man in reality did.

One time, Son and Daughter somehow made Him go out, so they all went to the woods for a picnic. Kids didn't give up of helping Him. They didn't give up on getting Him up from that damn chair, and getting Him out, so He could clear His mind and restore His strength. They went by car to a park just a few of kilometers away. Together they strolled through the woods and plains, trying to talk to Him. After the stroll, they said: wait for us here for a while, we'll go to get some wood for the fire.
And then, they left Him under the tree, driving back to their home.
This was the plan: KIds knew that it was the ruthless way, but it was for His own good. They wanted to make Him walk, move His wrists and those numb muscles. As He didn't do anything, His limbs were thinner, and weaker. He was hardly walking, because there wasn't any need to get up from the chair. Kids didn't want to see the suffering. They wanted old happy, strong Father back, and this picnic was the only chance for some physical activity. Sadly, the whole idea went bust. And Father hated Them even more.

He came home very late that night. He locked the door. He felt extreme hunger after that tormenting, long walk. He alone, couldn't believe how in the world He got home at all. He found some food in the fridge and went slowly back to the chair. 

House was completely unattended. His Kids moved away, but They still came to visit and make the meals. They still had hope for helping Him, but They always found him in the same position: with His head down, on the chair, in the corner.

As the days passed, He literally was melting and fusing with the chair. It kept Him alive, feeding Him with images of the past only. But one day, He couldn't get up anymore. Little strength he had, completely vanished. Slowly, the images changed. The smiling face of His Wife, with Her hair on light breeze, street corner, almost everything was the same, but then He noticed thin black lines flying around. Her hair was falling off, leaving the white spots of the head.
He flinched. What just happened? But the sane state of his mind didn't last long. The chair was sending impulses through His spine, turning them into illusions, flooding His mind again.

He saw the next scene He loved so much: His newborn Kids. They were so small, so harmless then. Wife held Them in Her arms saying: Just look at Them, aren't our Kids beautiful? But why She didn't notice that She was holding two crumpled wrappers of skin, filled with small bones, without flesh and blood, hollow creatures, yet still living with creepy smiles, hissing at Their Father.
The terror!

He closed His eyes but the image still floated.The chair has buried it too deep in His mind. Hands were hanging limply. He couldn't move His head at all. It hanged like a rotten fruit on his thin neck. He couldn't look at anything except old dusty floor with ants moving between the crumbs and dirt.
Agony continued for days. He couldn't chase away the images of fear. More important, He couldn't move, or even lean a little bit, just to fall down from the chair. The fear made Him howl like a beast. But He couldn't. All that could be heard, was just a memory of his strong voice. From His half opened, dried mouth, a weak sobbing came out.

Now, when he needed it the most, there was no strength left. He remembered the Kids, Friends, He cast away. All of them are gone, after they wasted months on Him. At that time He stubbornly refused everything they gave. He even remembered that stroll, when the KIds left him under the tree. He cursed them while He was walking back home, because he thought that all of it was a nasty prank, and not so much needed help. If They were beside Him now, He would say: thank you.
But the room was empty. He was alone, sitting on the chair in the corner of a dark room.
It absorbed him. Atoms of His body mixed with atoms of the wood. Combined in hideous matter. His clothes rotted. The chair rejected it as unnecessary. He was naked. His spine merged with the chair back, his bottom with the chair seating, his calves with the chair legs. Ruthless fusion of flesh, bones and wood. How come, He didn't notice this? He was deceived! Where are the images of comfort and peace this chair gave Him? A terrible lie! Fooled by Himself! He could see all of His guilt now, He was blind for a long time. 
- I will change now, there is still time! - But all of life energy transferred into the chair, and He was helpless in the grasp of a wooden object.

He tried to call for help, but instead of a voice, only the air came out. It sounded like a screek of a very old tree. Nobody could hear it. The will for change existed now, the mind was free and opened, but the strength was gone forever. He was gone too. He looked in the place where His arms and feet were, but all He could see was cold, gnarled planks. Chest didn't rise, lungs didn't seek the oxygen, no pulse of life could be felt. The only thing He could feel was subtle vibration of dry tense wood.

In the corner of a dark room of the old house with stagnant air, a small, dusty, wooden chair stood still.

To R.