The Big Blue Recliner
Twenty-four year old Clara sat in the big blue recliner her father had sat in for many years. She had her knees pulled up to her chest and rocking herself she visited the distant past, her mind wandering down the corridors of time. She remembered well a Thanksgiving Day long ago when she and her parents had decided to spend the holiday at home together instead of eating with friends as was their custom. She reminisced about how her mother had busied herself in the kitchen occasionally tossing bits of food at her father who was mercilessly teasing her about her cooking. Clara had laughed and laughed as she danced about in the living room in her new ballerina outfit. She had just begun taking lessons and was always eager to show off the new moves she had learned the week before. Clara had no siblings or other family she knew of but that didn't bother her as she reveled in the attention she got from her parents.
Thanksgiving in the present was a week away and Clara felt a deep loneliness she had never felt before. The night before a State Police Officer had appeared at the door. He had removed his hat and told her in a kind and pitying voice that her parents had both been killed in a car accident. He had asked if she wanted him to call someone but she said truthfully there was no one to call. The officer stayed with her as long as he could and even invited Clara to dine with his family Thanksgiving Day but she had politely declined.
A knock at the door brought Clara out of her tortured thoughts. For a moment, a brief moment, she had wished the knock were from her father who had once again lost his keys. Reality quickly returned and as she slowly extricated herself from the recliner she became aware of how large the house she had inherited from her parents had become. A tear threatened to roll down her cheek but the news the officer had brought her sent her into such deep shock that she had not been able to cry over her loss. Her lack of tears both shamed and bewildered her, as she had loved her parents very much. She peeked through the peephole on the front door and she saw standing on the wrap around porch a man. She opened the door a crack and flinched when the winter air invaded the warmth of the house. Clara recognized the face of her visitor as that of old Postman Pete. She didn't know his real name and he didn't seem to mind.
"I've brought you your mail Clara. I'm heartily sorry for your loss. Your mother and father were good people." he said.
"Thank you." she said sheepishly and began to close the door. The Postman's sympathy had come close to making her cry but she held her composure.
Postman Pete gently pushed the door back open. "I have a registered letter for you Clara. Sign here." He stated as he handed her the envelope.
Slowly Clara opened the registered letter and gasped at its news. She had been chosen out of over one hundred women to appear as the main character in a ballet in New York. If she accepted the offer she would need to contact the number and name, which appeared on the letter as soon as possible for rehearsals started in two weeks. Clara sat stunned. How her mother and father had looked forward to this day. Now they were gone. Clara half-heartedly tossed the letter onto an end table and sighed.
The funeral was difficult. There had been a few businesspersons attending with their husbands and wives in tow. No one came forward to say they were relation to Clara. She sat stone cold in her seat as a minister she didn't know gave her parents a generic eulogy.
When Clara returned to the home that had become only a house to her, she walked into the living room and stopped, her breath escaping her throat in a sudden gasp. The big blue recliner was missing. A quick look about confirmed her greatest fear, she had been burglarized.
The police were full of pity but business like informing Clara that these things happened perpetrated by crooks who followed the obituaries preying on the bereaved as they attended the funeral and leaving their homes unattended. The officer's explanation did nothing to quail the heart hurt Clara felt. Most of the possessions they took she had felt nothing, but the big blue recliner had been a strong link to her memories of her parents. Tomorrow was Thanksgiving and the break-in caused Clara's numbness to deepen.
That night she lay in her bed listening to the old alarm clock next to her bed. Apparently the thieves had known it was worthless and left it like a crumb thrown to a starving bird. Sometime during her sleepless night Clara decided she wouldn't ever dance again. She thought of the letter she had received that would have given her the big break she and her family had always yearned for and sighed. No, she could never dance again.
Thanksgiving morning Clara got out of bed and after wrapping herself in her mothers robe she began to descend the staircase leading to the living room. She was startled to hear the front door slam. Were the thieves back? Would she be killed for interrupting their escape? Quickly she descended the staircase not caring for her safety. Once at the base she stopped. Because it was so early in the morning it was very dark in the room and outside. Flicking on the living room lights she saw that the front door had indeed been opened for it was still opened a crack. Clara opened it and switched on the porch light. Looking about she saw no one and nothing except the sidewalk and yard, which was coated with newly fallen snow. She started to close the door when something caused her to look again. She looked all about the yard and saw no human footprints. As she pondered this enigma she turned to face the living room and gasped at what she saw. There, back in its usual place sat the big blue recliner. Clara ran to it and spied a note lying upon the chair. Clara began to sob, her emotions freed at last as she read the note, which simply read,
"Happy Thanksgiving honey. Break a leg! Mom and Dad."