The Easy Chair

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Young Renaldo was invisible to his parents.  He sat all day in front of the television and watched cartoons.  He wanted to run away, but where would he go?  It was easier to just turn into an easy chair.  This way, he could sit in the living room forever, and not have to worry about eating, sleeping, or doing any homework.

One night, after dinner, Renaldo’s parents finally noticed that Renaldo was missing.  They asked each other about Renaldo’s whereabouts.  They shrugged.

“Who knows?” said Renaldo’s mother.

Renaldo’s parents instantly forgot about him because they had a more pressing problem.  An easy chair had suddenly appeared in the middle of the living room.  Their apartment was tiny, and the addition of the easy chair made it difficult for the parent’s to pass, en route to the bathroom.  The next day, Renaldo’s father shipped the chair off to the Salvation Army.

The easy chair sat in the city’s Salvation Army store for the next twenty-five years.  Renaldo’s parents died, having forgotten about Renaldo a long time ago.  One day, Sarah, a divorced and anxiety-ridden woman, came into the store.  She had recently moved into a new apartment after being laid off from her job.  She was looking for an easy chair.  She noticed Renaldo, now a thirty-five year old easy chair.  She was not impressed with the chair.  It was dusty.  The attendant at the store, a balding black man with a silver tooth, appeared behind Sarah, eager to finally get rid of this old chair.

“You can have this one at 70% off,” he said.

Sarah figured it was a good deal, and bought the easy chair.  The attendant helped her tie the chair to the roof of her car, and Sarah brought Renaldo back to her small home, in a less-than-fashionable part of town.

Sarah cleaned up the easy chair, vacuuming away the dust, and placed it in front of her TV.  Renaldo was overjoyed.  He had not watched television for twenty-five years, and he sorely missed it.  And there were so many more cable channels now!  Food channels!  Decorating channels!  Cartoon channels!

In the morning, Sarah would turn on the Exercise Channel! — and do her aerobics with a group of health-oriented women on the screen, one of them, the always-smiling instructor, shouting out platitudes like “You go girl!”  Sarah would do her exercising in her panties and bra.  Renaldo was mesmerized by Sarah’s womanly body.  This was so much more interesting than any cartoon!   As Sarah did her “step” routine, Renaldo would watch her round ass move to the musical beat.  Renaldo’s favorite time was at night, during Sarah’s favorite primetime TV shows, “The Bachelor,” “CSI Miami,” and”American Idol,” because she would lean back in the easy chair, relaxed, and Renaldo felt her body next to hers.  He would feel powerful and exciting sensations, and have thoughts and feelings that were dormant for so many years.

One day, Sarah woke up in the easy chair, having spent the night dreaming her night with the shirtless Sawyer on the island of “Lost.”  She stood up from the chair and felt sick.  She threw up.  She went to her doctor.

“You’re pregnant,” he told her.

This was a mind-blowing announcement.  Sarah had not had sex with anyone since she was divorced from Andrew two years ago.  Sarah was a woman of reason, and would not even entertain the thought of some religious experience, or that she was carrying Satan’s baby, like in a movie.  There had to be a logical explanation for her pregnancy.

She gave the issue some thought, and concluded that she felt the most comfortable when she was sitting in the easy chair.  She had spent hours in that chair.  Sometimes, after a hard day at the office, she would just sit there, her eyes closed, and imagined that the easy chair was a handsome man who massaged her breasts and kissed her on the neck and whispered love poems into her ear.

“Are you my lover?” Sarah asked the easy chair, turning to Renaldo.

Her acknowledgement of Renaldo’s existence released Renaldo from the fears and hurts that had plagued him since childhood.  He was finally noticed by someone — a beautiful woman who he loved, a woman who was eager for his touch.

Renaldo suddenly appeared before Sarah as a handsome thirty-five year old man.  He had returned to reality, and he was happy.  And Sarah was happy.  Sarah stopped watching TV, not needing the distraction any more.  Every night, she would come home from work, and she would make passionate love to Renaldo.  Renaldo loved Sarah’s changing body and asked her to marry him.   She said yes.  Several months later, the baby was born, a boy.  They named him Sal, after the Salvation Army where Renaldo and Sarah first met.

Dealing with a baby was difficult for Sarah.  The baby’s crying kept her up at night and her focus revolved around the demanding child.  When she had some free time, Sarah just wanted to escape and watch TV.  Renaldo grew irritable, missing how things used to be with his wife.  Now, everything was about “the baby.”  Sarah had no patience for the nagging Renaldo.  One night, she had a dream that Renaldo transformed back into a comfortable old easy chair. It was so much easier back then.  When she woke up, Renaldo, the man was gone. Just like she hoped, Renaldo had returned to being a thirty-five year old easy chair.  That night, after putting the beautiful baby to bed, Sarah relaxed in the easy chair and watched Sawyer take off his shirt on “Lost.”  She was now happy.

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24 Responses to The Easy Chair

  1. Caryn says:

    Great story Neil — very Steve Martin-esque.

  2. this is funny, but also very sad.

  3. SciFi Dad says:

    Nicely done. In the opening, it reminded me of Kafka (Metamorphosis), but it quickly took its own direction.

  4. kenju says:

    Very interesting, Neil. A funny twist, that.

  5. V-Grrrl says:

    This is…disturbing, riveting, modern, a creative description of family dysfunction…and sad.

  6. Wonderful story! You’re a fabulous writer, Neil.

    Of course, if I were telling the story, Sarah would have turned into a huge breast. Or maybe a waffle iron. Or a broom. But that’s where my head’s at.

  7. sarah g says:

    so…you’re saying that you thought change was good; but you couldnt deal with it and things were easier when you went unnoticed? or when you ignored issues and you long for comfort? and a beautiful woman? …
    …or do you wish your armchair was a young man, when you are enjoying the sight of Sawyer?

    Both are plausible :)

  8. TMWW says:

    Excellent story Neil. Sounds like the perfect life to me, now to be the chair or be the one left behind to worry about everything…that’s the question.

  9. Lucy says:

    I will never look at furniture or lovers the same way again. You are delightful, Neil.

  10. Chris says:

    That was great. You should publish a collection of short stories. They’re so good. This one took me everywhere in a matter of minutes.

    At the end I thought, “How the hell does he nail it every time?” You just do.

  11. churlita says:

    Cool twist. A lot of times I think it’s just easier not to have to deal with all the crap of a relationship too. Now, where can I find this “easy” chair of which you speak?

  12. Beth says:

    Wow…awesome story Neil, so “sad but true” ish! Thanks so much!

  13. Noel says:

    So THIS is the change you referred to at the end of the previous post. You go Renaldo/Neil!

  14. ingrid says:

    wow. that’s some chair. gotta get me some “chair luuuuvin'”

  15. mamatulip says:

    Ooooh, this was so Kafka-esque, Neil! I really liked it.

  16. Peggy says:

    Wow! 70% off? Sarah got a GREAT deal! :)

  17. headbang8 says:

    Are you feeling a bit like the easy chair right now, Neil?

  18. So basically she used the chair as a stud, and set him out to pasture when she was tired of him? She sounds like Madonna.

  19. 3boys1mommy says:

    If I spend any more time with this big ol’sectional, it’s going to turn me into octomom!

    Great story Neil.

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