Grandpa's Chair

Oil and Charcoal on Unprimed Canvas

2014

Christmas Chocolates

 

I always loved visiting my grandparents over Christmas break. Held captive for six hours, the excitement from anticipation swelled within the fibers of my body as I stared out the window. Condensation traced the movement of my eager finger as I drew angel wings on the cold glass surface and pretended to count snowflakes, as I imagined they would have gathered in the rubber gutter of the car window. With the belly of my forehead pressed against the glass, I could almost catch glimpses of Reindeer hooves pulling Santa’s sleigh across deep Californian valleys.

 

Mom sang softly to a soulful version of Silent Night and reminded me not to hold the chocolates that I had made in class too tightly or they’d melt. Their thin plastic covering was little match against the warmth of my anxious little fingers.

 

Arriving at my grandparents’ house the smell of pine-scented plastic, peppermint, and chicken stock nestled in my nostrils and I felt home. I put the chocolates in the refrigerator and joined my cousins as they conducted the rituals of child’s play. In the morning I tried to sneak one but quickly realized they had gone missing. Ferociously I reordered all contents of the refrigerator shelves, leaving tubaware imprints in puddles of goo that escaped them during my unmindful frenzy in hopes of uncovering my misplaced jewels. Before the wall of salty tears that had been building over my eyes fell, mom discovered grandpa had eaten them all.

 

To make amends, he lifted me up to join him on his big crimson chair and showed me his drawings replacing my disappointment with wonder. Via a few cracks of his aged knees, grandpa left me to look at them. Enchanted, I made brilliant discoveries between charcoal lines while falling in love with the movement of the gestural figures as they played and danced across the textured surface. My gaze plummeted off the cliff of the paper as I noticed my older sister fiddling with nothings on the floor.

 

Electrified, I flailed my arms above my head shifting the atmosphere around me to invite her to sit with me on his throne.  Her plumped legs sprang upward propelling her as she rushed over enraptured by the opportunity. No one was ever allowed to sit on grandpa’s chair before, especially children. Grabbing her by the seams of her sleeves, I hoisted her up as if saving her from the carpeted abyss. I could see comfort seep into her being as she dangled ashy ankles off the edge of the plush cushions. Blanketed by pride she adjusted her body to settle in.

 

We looked at each other in contentment exchanging smiles. No words were needed. The stomp of grandpa’s feet immediately closed the curtains to her exposed teeth. He rushed over and yelled at her to get down, yanking her by the arm to the floor.

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