Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 1: Lobject’s rocking chair

 Our new house is filled with old furniture—a cherry, Pilipino mahogany dining room set; the round kitchen table and heavy, curved chairs my husband ate dinner at as a child and resembles the Sunday spaghetti dinners of my youth; a small, simple desk his father built in 8th grade; a stained singer sewing machine; and other tables and dressers—all with a patriarchal history. These items are memories rich with family traditions and comforting like meatloaf and mac ‘n cheese.

The rocking chair in our guest bedroom is the only thing we have from his mother’s parents. It belonged to Maw Maw, a woman I’ve only seen in pictures, but when I close my eyes and visualize the rocking chair, I see her in it. She’s a young mother nursing her first child. She’s meekly smiling and wearing a long, white, cotton nightgown. My husband tells me the rocking chair sat next to a china cabinet, near the clock on his parent’s mantle. I just can’t see it, though. Not there.

I’ve put a worn, blue blanket on the back of the chair. I imagine draping it over her legs and a soothing, “Thank you, dear.” She’s drinking lemon tea. A splash of milk goes in the mug first. Coral slippers push gently off the rug and it’s snowing outside. She’s come to visit the grandkids we don’t yet have. She sits there throughout the day and she’s happy for us in our new house. She watched over our guests and the house.

At first, I didn’t like the rocking chair, told my husband it would not go in the living room. “A room upstairs,” I said, peering above my glasses—my classic I-mean-it look. I meant it when I said it and I think Maw Maw would like her rocking chair in the corner by the window, but I didn’t see her in the chair, the curved wood of her limbs, the back and forth of her body as she speaks, children upon her lap indenting the weaved, lattice base. I still don’t see the rocking chair through my husband’s eyes, but I see Maw Maw in my own way and I’m happy to have her in our house.  

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