The Rocker

When the house had to come down there was one last inspection, there was no real reason for it, it had just become a ritual for him, one last look like a feeling of honoring the four walls that had held generations safe. His heart always tugged at him as he walked through, the only reason for tearing down the houses was so the steel and glass of an office building could go up exponentially raising the profit for rent. Anything of real value had already been auctioned, the lamp fixtures were gaping holes and wires hung out like dried wounds. The wooden floor under his feet moaned as if it knew its end was coming. It was too scratched and pocked to be of any value and in a corner where the sun was just reaching in through a broken window, was an old rocker. The only piece of furniture which had been left behind. He thought maybe it was worth something or maybe he could restore it to some of its old shine. As he walked over to it, it began to tilt ever so slightly back and forth, maybe the breeze from the broken pane had brought it to life. Strangely, the sunlight seemed to warm in that corner and the dust there swirled away and for a moment his eyes were filled with it and began to tear. After rubbing them and opening them again, he saw the wispy form of a woman sitting in the chair with a baby in her arms, rocking both of them to a lullaby.

He rubbed his eyes again, had he been working too much overtime? And when he opened them again, he saw the woman again with a small boy at her side and a different baby in her arms. Then in an instant the there were two children sitting on the floor as she read to them a story from a large heirloom book. Next they were standing and laughing and running around the chair and a man who entered with gifts in his arms for all of them. Then another breeze and shifting of sunlight and he saw the woman, now older with strands of gray in her hair looking at a letter in her hand. He carefully walked behind the chair and could see it was from the government, her son had been killed in active duty, a hero to the country. Another woman came in, it must have been her daughter grown with a young man connected to her by her hand. Her mother looked up and smiled at both of them and pulled them closer with both of her hands. Then once again she was surrounded by children reading to them, her husband now older standing behind her smoking a pipe. A colder breeze came through the window and she was sitting alone in the rocker, the only motion was her turning her wedding ring on her finger as tears rolled down her cheeks. Then he saw her, hands as wizened as the wood on the chair, her head tilted back, her breath barely there. The sun went behind the clouds, the air seemed to stop moving and then there was another young woman sitting in the chair with a baby at her breast.

His knees became weak, he watched the chair hold and release five women from birth to death. Then it was dim and the dust in the air settled again. He walked over to the chair and took it into his hands and lifted it. The floor and walls made a hollow sigh and he took the rocker from the house. He had saved its soul before the walls came down.

Comments 0