There is a wicker chair propped up against the sun-baked brick wall outside. Every day I study it from my bedroom window. Every day it does the same thing – nothing.
While I stand there teasing the knots from my hair, I take in its worn fabric seat, now all baggy from the years of weight it has supported and wonder if it too will support me and my weight. It looks awfully lonely out there on its own and I wonder whether it silently screams for attention, to be noticed in this forgotten community.
So I take to observing this old wicker chair on a daily basis. I have no idea whether it is actually old, it just looks it. Another cast off in this wasteful age. I have never seen anyone acknowledge it, not outwardly anyway. Instead they walk on by, entertaining fantastic ideas which never materialise.
On cool summer evenings when the sun takes to hibernating behind meringue-shaped clouds, squealing children run with half-eaten ice-creams dripping down their hands, dismissing the antique chair with a turn of their heads.
As if to soothe the ache in the air, my fingertips trace the outline of the uninhabited chair on my window. Now it has a purpose I tell myself, as the sun’s dying rays illuminate the smudgy sketch on my glass pane. I fancy it glows with an intensity I have never seen before, so very alluring. And inviting.
The street is empty.
The lighting overhead flickers on as I pass beneath, their tangerine luminescence penetrating deep into the night. I hold my breath, scared that a sudden rush of air might upset the harmony established overhead. Indigo clouds skate across a sky suffused with ink. A mild breeze stirs the leaves to the side of me. My eyes do not move from the chair. The sound of well-worn loafers sighing with every step I take breaks the silence.
I cross over.
Bedrooms come to life as switches are flicked on; hundreds of bodies preferring the comfort of familiarity and seclusion. And yet there is only me, daring enough to embrace change.
The chair expects me and has anticipated this meeting for weeks now. I have been tortured by ifs and whens and hows. But now is the time. It has always been now.
The chair creaks as it receives my weight. I can tell the fabric is thin, fraying at the edges and I pray that for the next few minutes it doesn’t give.
I have to preserve this moment.
Later in bed, I will remember what it felt like to be weightless, free of mass, kicking my legs into the air like I used to when grandma pushed me on the swing, and I will smile a contented smile and close my eyes.
And in my dream I will see the ghostly image of the wicker chair’s silhouette splayed like a butterfly’s wings against the window, and know that beyond it, a faded sun-bleached brick wall awaits.
Lauren Bell lives in Birmingham and is often drunk on inspiration. Her work has been published by Word Bohemia, Synaesthesia Magazine, Bare Fiction, The Casket of Fictional Delights and Storgy Magazine where she is a contributing writer.
Photograph courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net