Old Man Wilkershins sat on his old man wicker rocking chair, rocking back and forth, as you do, in the lazy afternoon haze. Coordinated with his motion, his memories rocked back, bringing forth thoughts of sitting on the chair as a young boy, when it occupied a nook in his parents’ basement and times were simpler. It practically felt like the chair had a life of its own. In fact, it did.
The chair was born in 1893 to two loving parents, a recliner and an Adirondack. Chair genetics are more complicated than animals’, thus these two disparate seats bred a rocking variety. It was a hardy chair so was able to survive its first winter, the most difficult time of survival for all infants. Being a chair, it was already fully grown physically, though it had to develop considerably mentally. The naïve chair didn’t even know the difference between oak and maple.
At the turn of the century, the rocking chair parted ways from its parents. This was not a consensual decision; one day the juvenile found itself strapped to a carriage, which was being trotted away from the abode it called home. It never would see its parental chairs again, though it would always keep their loving images in the forefront of its wooden memory. This day began a tense period of uncertainty in the chair’s life, which lasted until mid-century. A year is merely a blink in the life of a chair, but each blink is meaningful.
During this time, the chair moved, or was moved, into the city, exposing it to the urban landscape. Yet before long, it was transported back to the rural country. It passed between hands, was sold like a slave and sat on by countless rears. The chair felt used, but not in the way it knew in its deepest psyche it was meant to be used. All the seat longed for was stability, a difficult achievement for a rocking chair. At the very least, the chair knew it was fortunate to be intact and in a home; the horror stories of discarded wood turned to scraps frightened the rocker like nothing else. However, safety was not enough for the chair. It wanted something more in its life of service.
In 1948, the chair traveled yet again, this time to a new sector of the world: the suburbs. It could only describe its new home with new sitters as a forest of houses, where everything looks the same except to the untrained eye and birds. This day of transit was the first of a beautiful communal relationship between the rocking chair and a human. This person was Old Man Wilkershins, though at the time he was Young Boy but preferred to be called Theodore. He was a toddler and climbed all over the chair instead of properly sitting in it, but the rocker didn’t mind. It felt a connection to the boy, a feeling it hadn’t experienced since it was a juvenile itself.
In a few chair blinks, Theodore was a man. He left home, but not without taking the chair. The rocker’s wooden heart bloomed at the thought that someone would care enough to bring the chair to a new place, instead of dumping it onto the next sitter-owner. Both the chair and Theodore had left their parents and found comfort in their symbiotic relationship that hinged on sitting.
A few more blinks and Theodore Wilkershins was married with his own child. He moved into a larger house with his family, bringing forth another chair into the rocker’s wooden existence: a beautifully adorned loveseat. Shortly after, the two chairs themselves became parents to a chaise longue. It was a content family, one that was happy simply sitting with one another.
Both the rocking chair and Theodore, on his way to becoming Old Man, simultaneously experienced a personally tragic moment several human years later. The Wilkershins’s son left home for college, taking the love seat with him. Theodore was childless, and the rocking chair without its spouse. However, both still had loved ones to help them get through these emotionally difficult times.
Eventually all things come to pass. And so it was for now Old Man Wilkershins’s wife and the chaise, which had been sent to another family to sit on. Now in their later years, it was just Wilkershins and the rocking chair keeping each other company.
As the dusk light began creeping away, Theodore Wilkershins, still gently rocking, looked out from his porch. He smiled to himself. There was comfort in the smooth grain underneath him. The rocking chair was also content, knowing its longest friend and companion was still with it. Many things pass, but this connection, the chair knew, would be forever ingrained in its memory. As the light finally faded, Old Man Wilkershins slowly closed his eyes, and the rocking chair stopped rocking.