Monday, May 18, 2015

The Treachery of Images (A Cumulative Tale)

It's just a chair, it's just a chair, it's just a chair...
Ceci n'est pas une chair. Or at least not the chair. No, this is the chair that replaced the chair that I took down to the basement to make room for the desk, the desk at which Ozzy is now sitting. This is the house that Susannah built.

My mom gave us that chair, the other chair. The overstuffed chenille rocking chair née chaise that I sat in while nursing/trying to nurse both my babies, the one that we cuddled in all three at once, read books in, the one that sat in the corner of Zoey's room, then Ozzy's. It now sits in a corner in the basement along with a red scooter that is too small, the couch with the broken back, boxes of photographs and the litter box. 

How can we get rid of that chair? Don't get rid of that chair. Believe it or not, Bryan is more sentimental than I. It's just a chair, I tell him, knowing full well what the basement means. It's just a chair, it's just a chair, it's just a chair...

Ozzy loves to draw. A boy who does not stop thrashing sits still to scribble-talk stories of boats crashing and monsters, dinosaurs, oceans. So when someone offered this hand-me-down desk I took it, loving how the top flips open to hold crayons and paper.
Last week I stained the wood a dark blue and hid decades worth of other peoples' stories with stickers from the surf shop down the street. Ozzy came with me and we sat and watched the older boys skate the ramp until we got hungry and went home. 
Now that the desk is finished, Ozzy says he loves it. Calls it his workspace, tells me to leave (but don't shut the door). From the other side of the house I can hear the scratch and grind of crayon hard, pock.pock.pock. as he dots something, rain or--? He does not know how to draw or do anything without intensity. 
It's just a chair, it's just a desk. A desk that was owned by two brothers from another family before him. It's just a place for a boy to create the world, whole worlds really, worlds enough to stack inside until the top no longer closes. 
This is a desk that is a cumulative tale, not the story of Susannah's house or Ozzy even, but a story of vast, fabled oceans, of life interlinked, of things that get put in the basement and back again, of boys that grow up, of overstuffed chairs all tattered and torn, the mom at once both happy and forlorn. This is the house that we are building.

6 comments:

Buff said...

What a beautiful post! In the waning days of the school year, when moms everywhere are barely hanging on...I needed to read that, and also needed the big fat tears that followed. I have my own chair, relegated to the basement. I'm going to have to visit it this evening with a big fat glass of wine!

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Finally found the e motijis ....uh, that was supposed to be a heart...anyway, gorgeous post

Anonymous said...

I swear Ozzy's getting cuter every day (heart emotiji ) ....I kinda prefer my hypothetical ones

Anonymous said...

ಠ_ಠ

Anonymous said...

😛