A CHAIR IN THE RAIN by Lee Wilkinson Copyright 1994 On the first morning of spring she drags the white

wicker chair into the shaft of sunlight that divides the almond tree and the ornamental plum. She sits thawing her wintersoaked bones; keeping company with Dylan Thomas and William Carlos Williams until the warmth is sucked out of the air by the first shadows. When he gets home she casts aside her books and encircles him with a smiling hug. She kisses him. When he strides out with their Labrador at heel he does not notice the chair that still sits in the spot where she had left it, for he is breathing the air of poets. The next day fickle spring brings a memory of winter and the air is charged with drizzle. She stays in bed with tea and Poe. In the evening, while washing up, he catches the luminescence of the little white chair through the kitchen window and considers bringing it in. He doesn't. The drizzle has sheeted into rain. She has progressed to Lovecraft. He sleeps alone. The chair sits silent witness to summer barbecues. A gaggle of friends come and go. It is the season of Chardonnay smiles. She now keeps company with the Romantics. He watches the late news. She wishes that he would bring the chair in. He wishes that she had never left it out. The sun cracks, then starts to peel the paint from the chair. Grass and weeds begin to marry into its wicker frame. He mows around it. In the autumn he brings her flowers and champagne. They both forget, for a while, about the chair whose paint has now ceased to peel with the new dullness of the sun. Outside its decay seems halted, but the moist autumn air works its way into summerformed cracks and its wood begin a slow rot from within. They think of names. She wants to decorate the spare room. He thinks it’s too early. They laugh and she gets her way. She reads Kitzinger. He worries about the environment. The chair is now so much a part of the garden that neither of them notice it anymore. Inside it is so rotted that the grass and weeds are now the frame that hold it up. Winter wakes her one morning with a speck of blood that soon becomes a trickle, like the rain outside. They stop talking about names. She no longer reads. He goes into the garden; tries to rip out the chair that has been so tightly lashed to it. The chair falls apart in his hands.

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