The Spirit of the Chair
I am awake, tense, rigid, and alert as I move through the obstacle course of my life. Silence echoing in my head, my blood pulsing in my ears. The spine-tingling scream ended as abruptly as it started, but I can hear his short sharp gasps. I see him clearly now, tidal waves of wails force his chest to rise and fall. I pick him up; his tears illuminated an eerie yellow by the star shaped night light. As I hold him close, I can see the terror in his black pupils wide, alert, expectant. He is screaming silently, but I hear the sound, as I always do, it chills my heart. I pull him closer; he nuzzles in to my neck. The tears, fat and full, mix with the mucus from his button nose, before meeting the drool on his chin. Together the pearly liquid congeals and swings in long stalactite drips, breaking occasionally to leave a growing pool of wetness on the Winnie the Pooh motif. I brush his burnt butter blond hair off his face with my hand. His eyes meet mine. He can see the hopelessness, the despair in mine. He opens his mouth wide and a takes a deep breath. He releases all his anger, venom, frustration, silently. His face is a deep vein tinge of blue. I want to join in to, to scream as the injustice, at the world.
As I feel his breathing settle, the soft dampness of it, caressing my neck. I sink in to my chair. I feel the fabric beneath my give, its soft skin yielding to the pressure of my weight. This chair signals the moment everything changed. When I found out I was pregnant, I devoured the internet for ‘must haves’ and ‘baby essentials’. Most of the women agreed having somewhere comfortable to sit and rest your hormone riddled, sleep deprived body was imperative. I started to scour shops looking for the perfect one.
Finally, I spotted it. It had a high back, raised seat, a solid wooden frame, and a refurbished mechanical heart. Only issue was a tear across the material on the back piece. It looked as if it had been a prop in a Hollywood slasher movie. I decided to buy it and get it re-covered. Within days of its delivery, I had a seamstress at my door. She came prepared with an array of samples. She offered me a wheel of nursery designs, but it was too late. I had seen a hidden gem. I pushed aside the Disney characters and indicated the one I had seen. Surprised, she handed it to me telling me it was more than double the cost of the others. At that point, she could have asked for a limb, a kidney, or even blood and I would have gladly obliged. I stroked the sample; it was soft, like stroking a kitten wrapped in a cloud, a combination of suede and nubuck. Even the colour was perfect, ox blood red, muted but not understated.
Days later, admiring her skill in her craft, I push it in to its new home. I sink in and relax, gently nodding off as the rocking motion matches my heartbeat.
My mobile startles me awake, vibrating and flashing in my pocket, groggily I answer.
‘Hi, it’s Clarice.'
‘Oh hi, I have just literally woken up from a sleep in your handiwork.’
‘That’s great. The reason I am calling…is....’ I hear her take a deep breath. ‘Do you believe in spirits?’
‘I know this might seem bizarre, but I can talk to spirits.’
My head hurts, I have just woken up, and some nutjob, who less than an hour ago was in my home, is talking about spirits! She obviously takes my silence as a positive sign. I suppose it is, I did not hang up or scream at her that she needed help. She continues, ‘When I was at your house earlier a spirit, an elderly lady, said she had a message. I did not acknowledge her as I didn’t want to alarm you, but she followed me home and has been constantly nagging at me to call you.’
‘I see....’ I say, finally able to find my voice again. Drained but intrigued enough to ask. ‘What is the message?’
‘You need to go for a check up. I cannot be any more specific. I’m sorry’
‘Right okay, so I just turn up at A & E and say I need a check up? I feel fine but a ghost can see things. No offence love, but they will have me on the psychiatric ward in time for dinner.’