The Wicker Chair

By Mindi Mikula

I sit on the step, my knees tucked snugly against my chest, my toes making small ripples in the puddle beneath me. I stare out at the rain, a soft sigh escaping my lips. The hard concrete beneath me is damp and I can feel my jeans growing soggy, yet I have no desire to move. Days like this leave me a little nostalgic, longing for things I’ve left behind. I can almost feel him beside me again, and I don’t want the illusion to end.

I gaze out at the green expanse of the lawn, broken by the chain-link fence, and spy a chair gathering water in the neighbor’s yard, shining white against the gray-green glow of the waning day. It reminds me of another rainy day, and of a white wicker chair. I still dream of him sometimes when it rains; him in that old wicker chair with me seated contentedly in his lap or the rain falling around us in a curtain while he kissed me and said everything by saying nothing.

It had been an uncommonly wet winter that year. The most memorable moment of that winter, of perhaps any winter, was standing in the cold drizzling rain, stretched up on my tiptoes with his lips molded against mine, my eyes closed and my heart open. My heart had skidded to a stop, I had forgotten to breathe and the world stood earth-shatteringly still. The void that had always been inside me disappeared. I was home.

That winter was our wonderland. From the moment I opened the door to find him standing there on my front step until that last lingering kiss goodbye in the rain, the days and nights were full of laughter and dreams and magic. I can still taste the wine on his lips and see the curves of his face when he turned that dazzling smile on me as if it has been minutes since we last stood there together instead of the long years that have passed.

I’ve never experienced such an overwhelming peace like I did in that moment where we stood together between the raindrops. Where I fit against him, it was like the missing piece of a puzzle had snapped into the place and the picture was finally whole, the search complete. The world ceased to exist outside of his embrace, and in that one kiss was all the promise for the future I’d ever need.

The next spring, it rained endlessly the day I loaded the last of my belongings into the moving truck. I thought of him that rainy afternoon, of the plans we’d made that would never happen, of weddings that would never be and adventures that would never begin. I walked through the empty rooms cataloging all that had passed between those walls.

Alone in the old house, I sat one last time in the wicker chair and glanced around me saying my silent goodbyes to the memories we’d made there. I’d closed my eyes and could almost feel his strong arms cradling me as they had the winter before, his chest rising and falling with his breath and the music of his husky laugh when I’d said something funny.

“Do you want that old chair there?” the mover had asked me, pointing at my weather-worn white wicker chair, sitting lonely in the corner of the porch by the back door. I was silent for a moment. “No, it stays here.” He nodded, and soon I heard the rumble of the truck as it pulled out of the driveway and crunched on the graveled street.

About this writer

  • Mindi Mikula Mindi Mikula is a staff writer for a small rural newspaper, based in East Texas. She is a native Texan and single mother of two wonderful children. Mikula is also currently hard at work on her first novel.

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