This was my Mother’s Day gift to my wife, Elisabeth, who will soon be a mother herself.
The Shoe Horn and the ChairA once clothes-scattered room with carefully hung, mismatched pictures was now full of boxes and echoes. A kitchen, once a place of hearty laughter, feasts of plenty and heartfelt expressions of love was reduced to scrubbed countertops and bare cupboards. The windows, which looked out into a beautiful, forested landscape and a bright future, now reflected inwardly to bountiful days of a bygone era. One by one—a box, a broom, a vase—the objects were carried away, leaving shadows of memories in corners and closets.
Through a window, a teasing breeze of spring air swirled throughout the house interrogating every nook. Playfully uncovering secrets from the past as it went, the breeze whispered gently into a room with only one curiosity: a chair. In a fanciful twist, the breeze surrounded the chair and probed its quiet memories. The faded floral pattern and worn upholstery remained silent, seemingly unwilling to yield an answer. So the teasing persisted.
A quiet and reminiscently happy melody started from within. Rays of sunshine danced like ballerinas in response. The somber atmosphere melted away at the touch of these light-filled, pirouetting sprites. In the corner, a tree with white flowers appeared, and the mantle became an arbor dressed with roses. The sprites continued their joyful dance until suddenly the room blossomed into a spring wedding. The guests, in their periwinkle-accented attire, gazed at the blissful couple, cheering, laughing and crying all at the right times. Of course, promises were made, joy was tangible, and love was sealed.
The sprites changed their dance and the wedding faded away leaving only a faded-floral chair and shoe horn in a drafty, two-room flat. The chair was hers, the shoe horn, his. With everything else left to work, love, and faith, the couple began their new life.
The scene changed again as the music pierced the air. A cry of pain. A surge of anxiety and excitement. He reached for the shoe horn and then the suitcase. She could only sit in her chair, careful breaths. Then tears of joy and relief at the sound of a newborn cry. It was a girl.
Again the music soared. Another cry of pain. Again he reached for the shoe horn and the suitcase, while she sat in her chair. Happiness followed as three went to four, five...
One by one, the children left just as they’d come. Only to return, with more of their own.
There were many comings and goings. The shoe horn was there for each adventure’s inauguration, and the chair was there for every day’s finale. He was her beginning, she was his end. Together, they cheered, laughed and cried all at the right times.
The sprites then stood still. There was nothing to say. The shoe horn was broken, beyond all repair. His eyes slept forever. Hers wept just the same in the faded, old chair.
She brought just a chair to the marriage. Just a chair? Times one hundred and two! For she gave so much comfort, peace, and completion to him. And he had just a shoe horn, too.
With one final note, the sprites bowed to a close. The memories dissolved and the breeze had its answer. In a twist of delight, it fled to the night. The room was now empty and no chair was in sight.