Two new chairs relax, empty, beside the highway. There is a possibility, we all believe, that the chairs were thrown out of the bed of a pickup by an angry drag for which the driver did not account. There’s a possibility that some rich man changed his mind about his taste of furniture halfway through a delivery, and requested they be set there. No one really knows.
The chairs have been slightly beaten, suggesting the former assumption, but their happiness gives away their newness. They are sad, clearly, from being abandoned, from being dropped, from having no shelter, but it is the sadness that comes with a current trial to which one is not accustomed, a strengthening, not a deeper sadness from past burdens. They are too happy, and yet they do not have enough joy either.
They have life. They have not seen the sweat and the heartaches that my chairs have been through. They have yet to feel a fart rumble their springs, followed by a hearty laughter around a room full of bachelors. Their upholsteries haven’t received the harsh scrubbing resulting from weeks of caked on dip or beer spills, or tiny chip crumbs that had found a way of embedding themselves into the fabric during all those football games all those lazy Sunday afternoons.
There are many tortures my chairs have known which these chairs have yet to experience. Tortures at the hand of wonderful oppressors, such as my black lab, Chief, and that year of fleas, the 2 or 3 years of chewing issues, the many years of heavy shedding, the days of muddy walks without a towel, the year he could barely even get himself up to rub against it, and the days I had to take off of work, and sit, after he was gone. There are some tormentors that come in smaller packages, as my girlfriend showed me with her consolation gift of a miniature australian shepherd, Chief 2.
The chairs on the highway have yet to be pushed to their limits. Their future may see an engaged couple sharing one of them too often. Eventually, they may realize a week without a single butt gets lonely, until the two come back together, foreign smells lingering on their pants. Maybe, as one of my chairs found out, a quick weight gain over nine months, followed by relief, followed by excessive rocking and more weight gain, is what’s in store. Perhaps there will be nights when the chairs will be over-shared once more, with half of the pair smaller than before, and a lighter book placed upon its armrest.
Those chairs on the highway can look forward to some nights of never being left alone. Their fabric will go through even more periods of scrubbing, and may be gifted with permanent ink that will never be scrubbed away. They will feel they are at the mercy of those tiny hands that had caused it.
Eventually, they may realize the smallest legs they had known for the shortest time have disappeared. Before that, they may go days without anyone, until pants come back smelling of iodoform from the hospitals. The plops upon their cushions will grow harder, the tear stains more frequent. Those chairs may have to go through what ours went through those hard months. They may see those small legs back for a short time, for that brief moment of remission before the metastasis, grown into a permanent absence.
Those chairs may see people trying to move on, still loving, still sharing them too often. My chairs saw much, including another quick weight gain, more tiny legs, not replacements, just new. They were torn by scissors left on too low a table, and covered in hair from the same incident. They withstood brutal treatment under tiny feet standing where they shouldn’t. They were loved, those highway chairs may get that.
The chairs on the highway could feel muscles growing tired, bones growing thinner. They may feel 3 other large weight fluctuations in their lifetime, from diets and falls and exercise and lethargy.
Those highway chairs may see those new tiny feet grow large, still being put where they shouldn’t, then, suddenly, disappear. The chairs may see those feet on those same legs every month or so. The visits may become less frequent.
The visits may, again, become more frequent, as the legs and butts they serve every night are nearly devoid of muscle, and the sitting becomes more frequent. Then, when more tiny hands smudge the chairs, and more tiny feet stand where they shouldn’t, they will be deemed broken. They will be considered utterly useless, they will have a sadness that cannot be matched, a deep, joy filled sadness.
For now, those 2 chairs on the highway are too happy to have been through that. Someone will come along and give them the torment they deserve. Some young person will pull over to begin making these happy, troubled chairs utterly useless.