Here’s a story inspired by this photo I snapped while walking in the neighborhood, some years ago.
Rise and shine
One summer morning, Sofie woke up and discovered she was being moved. Sofie was a plump, heavy little armchair and moving her was not easy. “Oh where could they be taking me,” she thought. “I was so comfortable here.” Sofie had been around a long time and had sat in several different spots inside the house.
Next thing she knew, Sofie was outside the house, sitting on the sidewalk, like a common park bench. This. Was a first.
“Oh, what’s happening! Why have they brought me here,” she thought. Sofie immediately began to worry.
A little later, Louise joined Sofie on the sidewalk. Louise was a Louis XIV-style armchair. She was at one time elegant and beautiful, sitting in the living room, admired by visitors. What was happening to her?
Misery loves company
Sofie and Louise sat side-by-side on the sidewalk and suspected the worst. Louise cried and Sofie was silent. Misery.
“My lace is gone,” said Sofie.
“Oh, you poor dear,” Louise cried. “And you sat there all those years for them, making them comfy.”
“And you were lovely Louise, sitting by the window at the desk.”
“Ingrates,” declared Louise.
A cat came and jumped up on Sofie, curling up and making himself comfortable.
“Get off me, you beast!” Sofie wouldn’t tolerate cat hairs on her slipcover. “Louise, DO SOMETHING.”
“Oh what are we to do.” Louise quivered, her faded upholstery looking even more pale under the hot sun.
Sofie and Louise sat for some time. Helpless. Every now and then, one of them cried a little. And then, silence.
“I’m hot,” announced Sophie.
“Me too,” sobbed Louise.
The cat was still on top of Sophie. “I can’t think with this awful creature on top of me. “Shoo. Shoo. Go away. Get OFF.”
The cat still sat, “Beast.”
They plight seemed hopeless. Endless.
“I remember when they bought you, Louise. They were so excited! You were a beauty. They wanted to put you in the perfect spot.”
“Yes, right by the window, where I faded,” Louise sighed. “And no new slipcover. Instead, they DUMP me.”
“But you looked out the window all those years. You weren’t bored to death, and spilled hot tea on, like I was, sitting next to the bookshelves in the dark.” Sofie’s raised her voice. “Only when they felt like reading or spilling tea, did I see any light!”
Just then, the cat, sensing tension, jumped off Sophie.
“Beast.” Sophie sighed.
The sun was right above them, and hot.
Hope and despair
“Oh, Sophie, could they be letting us ‘air out,’ you know, the way they do to the rugs?”
“Louise, face facts. We are no longer wanted. As you put it, we’re DUMPED!” Sophie was blunt. “Only why did they had to do it in this heat? We never did a thing to them!”
“Ingrates,” said Louise.
The afternoon came, and with it, more heat.
“I can’t stand it anymore,” said Sophie. “If we are to be collected, I wish they’d GET ON WITH IT! What if it rains or something?”
There was not even a whisper of a cloud in the sky. In another situation, it would be a perfect day.
Louise started crying. “Sophie. Oh, Sophie. I’m so scared.”
“Me too,” said Sophie.
Exhausted from worry and fright, Sophie and Louise dozed. As two old chairs might.
And then. Sophie screamed.
“What? Is it happening? OH!” Louise was in a panic.
“That horrible beast is back on top of me. Look at it. Why doesn’t it stay OFF. As if I don’t have enough troubles.”
“You scared me.” Louise looked even more faded than usual.
“I’m sorry, dear. How very thoughtless of me.”
“Well,” said Louise.
As time goes by
The cat sat.
The afternoon passed.
A little girl came walking down the street towards them.
“Sophie, look. She’s coming to, to, well, you know. Oh Sophie, she’s here. Goodbye Sophie. Goodbye.” Louise was hysterical.
“Louise. Don’t be ridiculous. It’s only a girl. Little girls don’t DO that sort of thing.”
“How silly of me,” said Louise.
“Ralph. Ralph!” She was closer now. “Where are you Ralphie?”
The cat ignored the girl and continued to sit on top of Sophie.
“Ralph. There you are.” The girl sat on Sophie’s arm. “What are you doing here?” She picked up the cat but he immediately escaped from her arms and jumped back on Sophie. “Ralph!”
“Go with her, Ralph,” pleaded Sophie.
“Yes. Go.” Louise liked the idea. She was weary of Sophie complaining.
“I’ll go get Daddy. He’ll make you come home.” She turned and ran down the street.
As the sun lowered in the sky, Sophie and Louise cast long shadows on the pavement.
Soon the girl returned with her father.
“See, Daddy? He won’t come home. Daddy? Are these chairs garbage?”
“Who are you calling garbage?” Sophie was furious. “Indeed!”
“Looks like it, honey.” The father started looking at Sophie and Louise. He looked under their cushions, picking Louise up to look underneath her.
“Put me down!”
“Leave her alone! And take this horrid hairy beast off me!”
But he didn’t put Louise down. “Come on, honey. Let’s take this one home. We’ll come back for Ralph later.”
“Sophie! I’m scared. Where are they taking me?” But Sophie didn’t hear. She was crying.
Soon, they came back. The girl, her father, and a young man. They started to lift Sophie up. Ralph jumped off. And they carried Sophie away as the sun began setting.
A few months later, the longtime companions sat next to each other in the girl’s house. Louise now wore a lovely new light green damask and Sophie was in the most glorious floral chintz. Every day, Ralph had his morning and afternoon naps curled up on top of Sophie.
“Good, Ralphie,” Sophie said. “Nice Ralphie. What a good cat you are. We love you Ralphie.”