The chair had not moved.
She couldn't bring herself to touch it.
Three months, and the chair, waiting patiently, had not moved from its position. Even the position that it had last swivelled to had not changed.
This was where he last sat, playing his computer game. She could still remember the smile on his face as his eyes fixated on the brilliant array of colours, shapes, figures and characters, dancing across the screen.
Standing outside his bedroom door in the hallway, she stared at it for a moment. It baffled her every now and again, of how something so insignificant and basic as a desk arm chair, could hold so much power over her.
Poised, with forty-five degrees turned from facing its partnered desk, it waited for someone to sink back into it.
Every time she walked into his room to clear some of his possessions or furniture, it seemed as if the chair patiently offered her an opportunity to find comfort and rest in its arms.
The black padded leather, with electric blue stitching, was a Christmas gift they had given him five years prior. You could detect where his elbows had been caressed by the arms of the chair, with the slightly faded colouring and shallow indentations providing the evidence.
As each day passed, the chair waited.
Sometimes when she walked past his door, she thought she saw someone sitting in the chair from the corner of her eye. Startled, she would take a second glance, and with a sense of relief (that someone had not crept into the house and sat in his chair without her knowing) and disappointment (that this was not a dream and hoped he would be sitting in the chair), she would stumble upon one of the memories watching him from the doorway bantering with his mates, laughing as they competed together online.
The thought of her sitting in the chair had never crossed her mind. It wasn't her chair.
But today, the atmosphere was...different. She felt a sense of a longing peace if she were to sit in it.
She mindfully pulled her consciousness from the trance and turned her face away from the room to continue down the hall. But as she was shifting her centre of gravity to take a step, she felt her body stop as if it was being pulled back and forced to stay in sight of the chair.
Was it beckoning to her to get closer? Or was she emotionally drawn to it in hopes that she would receive some form of vision of him sitting there, smiling up at her, controller in his hands, and ask (as he regularly did) with a cheeky grin, "Can you make me a hot chocolate with three marshmallows, please mumma?"
Blinking, she tried to remove the glassy glaze from her eyes without having to put down the washing basket that was occupying her hands. Obeying the nudge in her gut, she took a step inside his room and reminisced a little.
Some of his posters of various fictional characters still hung on the walls. She placed the basket on the bare mattress where he once used to sleep soundfully. They decided his computer desk and chair were the last things to clear away, because of how much of his joy came from utilising them. Coming to terms early on, she knew the concept of "letting go" will forever evade her, and she grew to accept it.
Her gaze, slowly panning around the room, paused at the desk. This is where she had found the note. How could a thirteen year-old boy...know what his future would be like? Why did he believe it would be as relentless and unforgiving as his school years? Why would he not open up about it to his parents and teachers? These were just some of the questions that looped on repeat in her mind. Daily.
"I'm sorry mum and dad, I can't live anymore. I'm sorry I have failed you both." Some of the note had said.
"No son, it is I that have failed you." She remembered saying when she first read the note.
Her eyes, slowly welling up with tears, rested on the chair one more time.
And there it stood.
As if it were saying it was ready whenever she needed to take a seat and rest in its open arms. She felt awkward and silly for projecting seeking comfort from a chair. It had no feelings, nor consciousness of its surroundings or any idea of what life entailed. But yet, it seemed as if it did know.
She hesitated for a moment. Took a gentle breath in, closed her eyes and sat mindfully in the chair.
The firmness eased, the leather was cool as she gently sunk deeper.
She leaned back into the chair and felt a sense of peace and comfort as if the chair was giving her a compassionate hug. And without warning, uncontrollably, she sobbed. She surrendered, once again after countless times, to the grief from her lost son.
The anguish for longing to hear his gleeful cheers and excitement, sitting in that very spot just one more time, swept over her. The memories of his blissful pride as he ran to her each time he progressed further and further into each game, defeating the bad guys and the big bosses, pleasantly taunted her. But the bitter sorrow followed the realisation that he seemingly could not continue to face the “bad guys” at school.
They...were too much for a small hero like him.
Her sobs turned to wailing. Tears streaming down her flushed cheeks as she struggled to take a deep breath, hands shaking as if overcome by a cold shiver.
After some time, leaning back in the chair with her eyes closed, she found herself beginning to relax and her sobs calmed down to deep belly breaths, the chair supporting her the whole time, holding her gently. She did feel a peace (as she first sensed she would) blanket her with warmth as she sat there motionless. Gratitude swept over her knowing that she wasn't alone in mourning the loss of her son.
The chair understood.
It, too, needed someone to help it grieve.
It missed him too.