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The Chair

They’re at it again. For the last few evenings they’ve been at each other’s throats. Nan has barely been in the ground for a week or two and all the skeletons are revealing themselves. I’ve been sitting in the living room overhearing their crap from the kitchen, ‘She never liked me’ he says and then she says ‘She loved you like the son you never had. She let you marry me!’ and all that lovely stuff. I can only take so much knowing that I have school tomorrow so for the last few evenings, I’ve limited my TV consumption to just The Simpsons and then went to my room to play music obnoxiously loud. Dad shouts at me to turn the music down, I oblige slowly. I believe it at least stops them from moaning at each other for a few minutes. Who knew music could stop arguments?

My nan died the other week and I haven’t thought too much about it. She was old, nearly 100 I think and for my short years on this earth, she always said to me around Christmas and birthdays that ‘this year could be my last’ so when I was younger I’d always prepare for her not to be at the next family celebration. Now she’s gone, I suppose I had over 10 years preparing for it. old people. They tell you the truth more than any other adult, compared to your age mates and middle aged anyway. The young always say too much and the middle aged overcompensate for the things they want to say but can’t. Old people just say it how it is. But anyway, I’ll miss nan. Now I’m thinking about it.

The funeral is next week. The flat she lived in has gone already and now it is just about who gets what from what it is she left. Which weren’t much, may I add…

Oh, I forgot to mention. This is my mum’s mum. Mum’s an only child so was very attached to my nan. And my granddad, my mum’s dad that is, he passed before I was born so I never knew him. My mum always says I remind her of him. I don’t get how that’s possible because granddad wouldn’t have been my age when my mum was born but I guess it must be the genes or something.

My nan had 2 older sisters, who practically disowned her when my granddad died. He had a bit of money and they used to ask for loans from him. He was generous with his money too, lending money to his sisters-in-laws and never demanding it back. Then he died and they seemed to disappear too. That’s why most of the arguing is happening now. Nan’s passed and they’ve appeared to claim that some of the possessions in the house are theirs and not mum’s which I don’t get. Mum looked after Nan while raising me. I can still smell the smell of the first time I went to Nan’s house, it’s one of my earliest memories, the smell of cigarettes and Guinness in every room. Mum used to spray air freshener for a good 5 minutes when we first entered but Nan would just carry on.

Dad isn’t really fussed about the belongings that Mum cares about so much. I think that’s why they’re arguing so much. Mum knows her Mum wasn’t a very wealthy woman and that most of the money Granddad made in his life is now gone because Nan never worked. I guess it’s an ego thing. Dad always says Nan never liked him. Mum counter-argues she wouldn’t have let him take her out of her Mum’s house if she didn’t. Not once did my Nan suggest that she didn’t like my Dad with her actions. Dad always says that she hated him in her heart, she could hide it well, and from the looks of things, I guess she took that hatred to the grave.

The main cause for their arguing is the family heirloom on my Mum’s side. I really don’t see the deal with it and I guess you won’t either. But Mum always says ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about, you’ll understand when you’re older’ whenever I query about it. It’s worth some money now to a person who collects old things apparently, and my Great-Aunts, who for some reason remind me of Patty & Selma from the Simpsons a little bit, have appeared and said that it belongs to them instead of Mum. Dad don’t care, Mum is angry about it.

Are you ready for the source of the family fallout between two generations?

All of the arguing is about a chair. Yes, a chair. An old rocking chair that was made in the mid-19th century, still in great condition that my Nan would sit in religiously. She inherited it from her parent and so on. All the women have had that chair so it’s a good thing Mum is you know, a woman in this case. But as all of the female descendants of my Great-Nan, see this is where it gets stupid, aren’t dead, my Great-Aunts are saying they should get it.

Straight away Mum says they want to sell it because they’re poor, and I haven’t actually heard them speak about it to be honest. Dad just wants it all settled with and most of their arguments recently start because he mutters under his breath near Mum when he can see she’s thinking about it, ‘It’s only a chair love’ and that’s all it takes to start her off. I don’t think he cares, Mum needs reminding in his eyes. She’s going crazy about principles and what not, but if Nan’s only prized possession is something you sit down in, maybe there’s some wisdom to just rest on your laurels if that laurel can make you some money.

 

 

I confronted them earlier. The funeral is tomorrow and I really don’t want to hear about this damn chair for much longer. I’ve been allowed out of school for the day to attend it and I can do without these grown adults standing around talking about something you sit in. So when they started again in the kitchen, instead of minding my business, I said something.

I went in there and said ‘Dad, do you gain anything whether we get the chair or not?’

He said ‘No I guess not’

I asked the same question to Mum and she said ‘It’s the last memory I’ll have of her. That’s what I’ll gain’

And with that, Dad’s eyes opened wide and he hugged Mum. I said ‘That makes sense’, joined in the hug and then left.

I guess it took me to make Dad realise it weren’t about the chair at all.