REGRET

The armchair had been a fixture in my living room for almost twenty years. Its once pretty linen covering now showing signs of considerable dilapidation. Countless lounging bodies and the determination of a small and oft-times grubby canine to claim it as his own had placed it beyond  redemption. It was time for it to go.

Coinciding with my decision to part with the chair was the arrival in the mail a flyer informing me of a City Council curbside collection. All bulky and unwanted household items were to be left on the footpath to await pickup. How fortuitous I thought, the perfect opportunity to rid oneself of a tired and shabby armchair.

It was an enormous struggle to maneuver the cumbersome old chair out of the sitting room into the courtyard and from there onto the footpath. It was almost as if the chair was resisting its removal from the house. But with determination, skinned knuckles and a truly inspired vocabulary of colourful expletives, its expatriation was finally effected.

Instead of the satisfying feeling of a job well done normally associated with the successful execution of a difficult task, I was beset with sudden misgivings.

Ignoring my disquiet I walked determinedly back into the house eager to start with reorganizing the remaining furniture to fill the space left by the deposed armchair.

It’s strange how we invest inanimate objects with human feelings. No matter how I tried to reassure myself the room looked much improved without the old armchair, I couldn’t dispel the awful vision of it abandoned on the footpath; forlorn, lonely and sad.

Exacerbating my feelings of guilt was Beau’s reaction to the chairs eviction. He was obviously concerned, for the chair had been a constant all his life. An old servant that had served him well,  offering succor on cold winter nights, a place to take an afternoon kip and a wonderful hide for his bone to be secured in.

He was most reluctant to leave it deserted on the curbside and it was only at my vehement  insistence did he return unwillingly to my side, his eyes large with reproach.

Enormous bruised clouds began to assemble ominously on the horizon. A breeze gathers momentum, carrying with it the smell of rain. Anxiously, I stepped into the courtyard to better view the sky.  With rain threatening, I began to fret for my old armchair. It was about to receive a thorough soaking.

Back in the sitting room, I once again rearrange the furniture in a determined effort to distract myself from caliginous thoughts. But no matter how hard I try, the room somehow seems diminished, almost lacking character, without the old armchair nestled cozily in it’s corner.

Not able to withstand the guilt any longer, I finally succumbed to the desire to reinstate the chair to its former position; to bring it safely inside out of the inclement weather and restore to it the dignity it so rightly deserves.

With Beau at my side, we hurriedly make our way back to the footpath. There is no time to lose for the clouds, heavy with moisture, are about to release their load. A deluge is moments away.

Breathless, I arrive at the curbside just as the heavens open, fat raindrops begin to explode around me making a great thwacking noise as they slam against my forehead and  the unyielding surface of the footpath.

Wiping the rain from stinging eyes, I search frantically for the chair. Where is it? I’m sure I left it beside the Jacaranda tree. My eyes rake desperately up and down the street. I can’t believe it. The chair has gone!

Beau sniffs the ground where it last stood, confirming the awful truth: someone recognising the chair’s potential has carried it away. In a moment of complete irrationality, I want to cry “thief!” and seek the assistance of the local constabulary.

Disconsolate – and oblivious to the drenching rain – I return reluctantly to the house. Turning on lamps in an attempt to dispel the pervading gloom is a futile exercise for all I manage to do is illuminate the space where my old armchair once stood.

I most dreadfully miss that faithful servant, that old armchair. Obviously, I wasn’t the only person in the Farm to appreciate its value. Unfortunately I came to the realization far too late.

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