The chair has been a problem since that dark night we tied it down in the trunk of our green Volvo, watching the protruding back in the rear-view mirrors as as D.C. beltway traffic swerved around us.
It’s big. It’s bulky. It simply doesn’t fit in two-bedroom apartments or 1200 square-foot homes.
And I just might try to drag it out of the house in case of fire.
There’s a history to that chair. It comes from the tiny coffee shop in Northern Virginia, where the mercurial owner winced in pain at cream in his espresso, where I proved (to him) that my palate was tasteless, and where we first began to fall in love.
There were two of them, set in the back corner of the open room; our favorite seats in the room.
The shop closed, like we all knew it would, not long after we’d married and moved to the other side of the always-crowded beltway. And we paid too much for a chair who had seen so much wear.
The other is in North Carolina, traveling with our Marine Corps friends from one apartment or base house to the next. They loved that place as much as we did, or more.
It smelled like coffee beans for months after it took up a place in the second bedroom-turned-office, the brown leather scuffed and worn in places but soaked with the scent. And it took up most of the room.
Sunday it set off a three-day string of furniture adjustments. We pulled books off the shelves, then put them back; moved the television to three different walls; moved the couches toward the piano, then back toward the door; the chest to the office and the lamp-table behind the door. We stubbed toes and quit because there were no more ideas, just about the time that everything was in chaos.
Jasmine had to re-examine everything, in case it was different now that it had moved. She tried to steal the wireless router the minute it was unplugged.
And finally the dust has settled, and the chair is once again taking up too much room in our living room. It’s the first thing you seen when you walk in, set across the room by the piano.
And that, I guess, is where it belonged from the start.