My Reading Chair
When Mum died and we had to empty her flat my brother sister and I had to move out all her stuff. We’d agreed among ourselves which pieces we each would have and I got Mum’s easy chair. It was something I’d always wanted, partly because, being small, it was the perfect size for me. Sitting in it, my feet touch the ground which is not often true of today’s overblown over-sized sofas and chairs. What I also love is its shape. Its button back and upright arms cradle the sitter, so that sitting in it is almost like being held.
And then of course there are the memories it holds. For years it stood in Mum and Dad’s living room, in the house where the three of us grew up. It was where Mum sat when people came round, when first I and the kids visited, then when the great-grandkids came and we all had tea, or juice, and biscuits. When Mum moved into her sheltered accommodation the chair came with her. It was where I took her photo on her ninety-eighty birthday, proudly holding up the memoir I and my sister-in-law, Louise had helped her write.
Getting it to our house, during Covid proved somewhat problematic. The flat had to be emptied in a very short time and only my brother and his wife were allowed in. Luckily my ex-husband was in Bristol that weekend and I am so grateful that he volunteered to bring the chair up to Stoke for me.
Now it stands in our bedroom. It’s my reading chair. The place I go with a book and a cup of tea, away from the distractions of tablets, lap-tops computers, phones and social media of any kind. Together with Treacle, Mum’s bear, who has come to live with us, I sit and read, losing myself in a world away from the one in which there is the sadness of knowing that Mum is no longer with us.
Because of its history the chair will always be tinged with loss, in the same way as the chair Jane offers on her local freecycling site in my latest novel “Freecycling for Beginners.” Giving her chair away leads to a chain of events that she could never have predicted. I doubt the same will be true of Mum’s chair, but who knows.
In the meantime “Freecycling for Beginners” is dedicated to Mum and will be published on September 16th.