Our Chairs

Today I found a picture of an Adirondack chair tucked away in a pile of old pictures, notes, and recipes. It is not just any picture of an Adirondack chair. It is the picture I ripped out of a magazine four years ago as a symbol of what I was waiting for . . . of what I wanted to belive to be possible despite the splinters of my parent's love that were still stuck in my fingers and feet.

In the magazine, there was a pair of chairs. Sitting next to each other on a dock overlooking a lake. Enjoying each other. It was an image of belonging. I longed to be a part of a pair. I decided that when I met a man who had his own Adirondack chair, I would know he was "the one". He would pull his chair up next to the one I claimed from the pile of mementos and gifts that my dad left behind during the divorce. He would be the one to sit with me at the end of the day and ask the important questions. He would be the one that would sit quietly and watch the world go by with me.This image became a symbol of hope for me.

I tore out the page, but accidentally ripped out one of the chairs. The remaining lone chair was tucked into the slats of the old white picket fence that I used for a head board. A cultural symbol of domestic bliss, the weather-worn and imperfect fence ironically held my dream of love. Eventually, the picture blended into its surroundings. But every once in a while, when I noticed it, I smiled. I believed my chair guy would show up eventually. I remained hopeful.

I later found out that my chair picture was in the "love corner" of my house. Apparently if you believe in the principles of Fung Shui, there is a corner of your home that symbolizes your romantic life. Whatever sits in that corner represents the state of your love life. Or something.

As I told my friend Megan about the way things were beginning to change in my relationship with "my friend Herb" I said, "But it will never work out . . . he has a double Adirondack chair on his front porch. Two chairs attached to each other!"
Megan: "What?"
Me: "Well, he already has his life pulled together with a perfect little corner carved out for a wife to slide in right next to him. I already have my own damn Adirondack chair. I don't want to sit in his."
I was dead serious.
Megan: "This will make a cute story to tell him when you get married."
She was dead serious too.

The chair had become a symbol of my individuality. It was my person. I waited for years for someone else to slide up next to me with his chair and share the view and maybe a cup of tea. My chair was just that . . . it was mine. Mine. And at any time, I could pull my chair away. I was so scared of what might happen if I slid into Herb's double chair. What would happen to "me". Who would I be then?

Protecting my individuality has been a challenge during these past months. I find myself needing desperately to be heard; to know that my voice matters. All this time, I have longed to be a part of something bigger than myself. But the reality is that it is hard. I love saying "we", but sometimes, I have to wonder where to put "me".


Blogger hurricanic said...

for reasons like this, cara, i love you dearly. snuggle up next to him and use yours as an ottoman.

11:56 PM, March 21, 2006  

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