If you really want to confuse people, be literal. — Karen Maezen Miller
I moved a rocking chair. It belongs to the owner of the house, but is in good shape so I decided to keep it in the living room. It has sat, unrocked and empty, for two months by the fireplace, which has remain unswept and unkempt, the far end of the apartment I neglected until last night.
Last night, I turned down an invitation to dinner with a good friend. It was a hard decision, the kind that warranted a phone call after a couple of texts, the subtext of missing each other calling for the honesty and realness of our voices.
If I’d been home all day doing my own thing, I told her, I’d have welcomed the spontaneity to hang out on a beautiful summer evening. But after ten hours of being at work, vacuuming the car, squeezing in a run, and grocery shopping, I was spent and couldn’t bring myself to turn back around.
Snatam Kaur on Spotify, by some miracle of technology playing through the TV, I swayed around the living room for a while, some tears springing to my eyes, the ones that confirmed the decision to stay home in quiet. And then I got out the broom and swept a half inch of dust and dirt away from the flat stones in front of the hearth (does anyone really say “hearth”?), wiped the floor on my hands and knees with some spray and an old cloth diaper, and looked at the chair.
I slid the couch down a few feet, opening a space next to the piano on the wood floor, and moved the rocker. Put a pillow on its seat. Stepped back to take a look. Better. I haven’t lived here long enough to rearrange, and rearranging is always a sure-fire way to bring me home. Later, I settled in on the couch with some ice cream called “Black Tiger.” The phone rang, and I answered it. Mani and I talked for an hour about being introverts, about writing, about the fantastically boring future we can’t wait to share. I went to bed and slept in till seven, positively late for me on a work day.
Tonight, after Pearl and I got home, we washed her filthy feet in the tub and gave her crocks a scrub in the kitchen sink. She brushed her teeth and got three cookies (in that order). Then she went into the living room to watch “Good Luck Charlie.”
“Ooooh, when did we get that chair?” she asked. I told her it has been in the living room since we moved in. She had never noticed it before, crammed up against the fireplace with its dirty floor. And just like that, with one simple move, we had ourselves a new rocker.
Back when I started blogging, I’d have tied this in with an obvious metaphor–you can imagine. These days, cleverness looks more and more like pointing out the obvious, an unnecessary conceit. Draw your own conclusions, but I think the chair just looks nice. And I was pleased that Pearl thought so, too.