“You know, I miss her, what can I say?”
“Oh come on now, the way she treated us? As- as decorations?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what to tell you. I can still just stop and imagine that room-“
“Which of us can’t? Forty something years...”
“All I’m saying is I was comfortable.”
“You never shut up is the problem.”
“Like he does now.”
“I had to be stuck with the three of you of course.”
“And you’re a prize.”
The four chairs were from a large formal dining set purchased in 1968 outside Glendale, California. They had been sat in perhaps twice a year: Easter and Christmas, Thanksgiving was always at her sister’s.
“At least it was inside."
“We are inside.”
“A garage is barely inside.”
There were eight chairs in total. These four were purchased during the estate sale of the recently deceased. A young couple, the woman mostly, were excited by their retro charm and thought after some new padding and reupholstery they would go quite nice in the kitchenette. This was some time ago.
“I don’t know how many times I’ll have to say it, we’re going to do a year in here and end up on the lawn being sold to god knows who.”
This chair was closest to the old TV trays that did their fair share of gossiping with the living room furniture and had filled its head with all sorts of fanciful, and sometimes horrifying, stories.
“With any luck I’ll be taken alone.”
“My point is I’m not comfortable now being stacked like so.”
“Let it go already.”
“Well I’m not sure I want to go inside, that child is very young. I haven’t had to deal with that in thirty odd years. I’m just too old for all that.”
“You are too old.”
“The curtains kept the direct sunlight away...”
“Please someone chop me up and throw me into the fireplace.”
“We all had high hopes, but I don’t know how long we’ve been here and nothing.”
“She said something, something, bohemian.”
“Right, that’s my point. What’s so high hopes about that?”
“I just wanted to be sat on, is that so much to ask?”
Just then the garage opened and in came the Lexus with a trunk full of the latest home goods store run.
“God I hate that guy...”
There were groans of agreement. The Lexus wasn’t popular among the chairs.
“Gentlemen, I come bearing gifts.” The Lexus always sounded smug.
The people exited and mulled about with their other things, the rear hatch door opened and the people continued with their routine.
“It’s a big day for you all. They finally did it.” Smug.
The humans both carried a roll of fabric into the house.
“I told you, big day.” Magnanimous?
One by one the chairs were brought inside. There was cursing, yanking staples, tapping tacks, padding stuffed. They were each stunned into silence.
One by one the chairs were put in place around the small table. The humans stood to admire their work and went about cooking dinner. Two of them were sat on while they consumed.
“I’m quivering in anticipation.”
“Do you think they will rotate us?”
“We are closest to the entry, we are the favored.”
“You were favored previously.”
“Oh shut up the all of you.” The table interjected and stopped the bickering. “Where did they take the rest of my set?” Silence. The table’s set had been discarded.
Loss is common among them, the humans are fickle creatures.
Soft sobbing lasted the night.
As they warmed in the dawn rays, the table quietly stuttered. “I- I’m- I apologize. I move to anger quickly.”
“It’s all right.” One of the chairs replied softly after a moment.
“We all do.”
They remained quiet, basking in the sun after so long in the dark garage. The humans came downstairs and went about their routine, apparently not needing to sit in the kitchenette for breakfast.
The days passed quietly as they got to know their table, a purchase from a local bargain reseller with its set of four chairs. They were only a few years old, something the chairs found amusing.
“We’re being serious!”
“She brought the four of us out to watch on the television, we were closest to the living room.”
“There was something of a party, apparently not many had televisions then.”
“We were younger than you then!”
“Stop lying!” The table was flabbergasted, the chairs were regaling the table with their moon landing story. It’s one they relished telling, but it was the first time it had heard it.
One of the humans came in through the garage and started to add groceries to the counters, then eventually away in the pompous refrigerator (according to the table) and pantry. They seemed preoccupied.
“But no, it was an amazing thing. The couch said it was worse than The Beatles on Sullivan.”
“Oh, I forgot about that couch.”
“And the TV? He was hilarious.”
The table let the conversation simmer for a moment before it tried to change the subject.
“So you’ve seen a lot then?”
“Well, it was rare for us to leave the formal dining room.”
“Very rare. That might have been one of... maybe a dozen times?” Grunts of agreement.
“I got brought into the kitchen to stand on and change a light bulb from time to time.”
“But you’ve lasted a long time...” Not really a question, but the chairs interjected positively. “So, why do you think they are the way they are?”
The chairs were wise and knew where this conversation was going.
“I don’t think anyone knows.”
“Everyone has a theory.”
“You last long enough you’ll just be happy to get used occasionally before they throw you out...”
“Or put you on the lawn.”
“With a good enough sticker.” There were some dark laughs at the macabre thought. “The only explanation I can think of is they just don’t know.”
“Know?” The table was hanging on each word.
“They don’t know we are here, they think we’re just things.”
“Sure sometimes they love us...”
“Right, but that’s only some things, no one ever told me a chair was loved.”
“Maybe a La-Z-Boy.”
“Even then, cushion worn out? Done.”
“It makes sense,” you could almost hear the gears turning in the table. “I’ve never felt that love from them. Callous, cold, only when they’re cleaning me is it even something close to...”
“Right, but... we thank them for using us while we can.”
The conversation stopped there, and the silence went on for long enough most turned their attention to the human pleasuring itself on the couch.
“Ah damn. I know a couch has to be ready for that sort of thing at the drop of a hat, but I can’t say I’m envious.”
“You know both of them did that on me once.” The table could barely contain that fact as it blurted it out.
“You OK over there?” One of the chairs called out.
“What does it look like?” The couch’s voice sounded distant.
“Comes with the territory, pros outweigh the cons I’d say.”
“Says the chair that’s never been violated.”
The next day the humans brought home a high chair. It was assembled in a few minutes, and one of the chairs was picked up to be placed in the garage and the high chair put in its place.
“Holy shit.” The high chair looked around, stunned.
“Oh man, not again.” One of the chairs sounded a bit frantic.
“What is it?” The table’s concern was evident.
“Where am I?” The high chair’s intensity wasn’t helping.
“Calm down, calm down,” the nearest chair tried to sound comforting, “you’re safe for now.”
“You’re among friends.”
The energy dipped slightly.
“I’m sorry, it’s been a strange day.” There was still a bit of shake in the high chair’s voice.
“We’ve all been there.”
“What are we going to do about Three?”
“He always said he wanted to be alone, he got his wish.”
“Well he’s not alone, the Lexus...” They each shuddered at the thought.
“Three?” The high chair asked innocently. They explained what had happened, but this did nothing to help its mood and it remained silent for some time. “I’m sorry.”
“Sure isn’t your fault.”
“I’m Antilop by the way.”
“We’re Four, Five, and Six... there were eight of us and we didn’t care much about that sort of thing.”
“I’m from the Lerhamn set.” The table chimed in.
“Ah... fellow traveler.” Some levity, but that slowly faded away as each piece contemplated the evening’s events. None of the chairs wanted to break it to the high chair that in a few years he’d be on that lawn with a sticker, job done.
For a brief moment the three remaining chairs took solace in each other’s company, trying their hardest to forget their friend in the garage. Likely they’d see him again before too long, the holidays were coming up after all. It would be good to visit. Until then, they would support their people as best they could in spite of their tired bones.