“That chair is putrid!” I shouted at my partner. “Get it out of here!”
We’d spent the better part of two hours transporting the cathedra across town and now that we were standing on the sidewalk outside our building I decided I’d had it.
“It’s too heavy. I’m tired. Let’s just leave it here. This was pointless, anyway.”
“Well,” he said coolly, lighting a Parliament Light, “then that is your life.”
“What do you mean, ‘That is your life’? Why do you always say things like that?”
“Because you always say things like that,” he said back, exhaling a rather lengthy drag.
I threw my hands up in the air, disgusted. “The day is ruined. Let’s do this some other time.”
But my partner never moved. He just stood there, smoking his cigarette, enjoying the act more than I’d ever admit I wanted him to in the still pale early morning sunlight.
“What are you doing?” I asked after an interval of several minutes had passed. “The day is lost. Pack it in. We’re going home.”
“Then the day is lost,” he said, smoldering the cherry into the street beneath his feet.
“Why do you keep saying that?” I harped.
“Because it is.”
Now I was heated. “What makes you so sure?”
“What makes you so sure?”
“I’m not sure of anything,” I shot back, “You’re the one who seems to know everything.”
“I claim to know no such things,” he said casually. “You said so yourself, ‘The day is lost.’ I’m merely repeating what you said.”
“Well, don’t repeat what I said. It’s annoying.”
I watched as he fingered the opening of his cigarette pack. Just when I thought he was going to remove another and pop the smoke in his mouth, he shoved the pack back into his rear pocket and folded his arms across his chest. Two elderly ladies wearing wide-brimmed hats were walking down the otherwise deserted street. In front of them were two equally eager mutts tugging at their leash lines. One looked like a dachshund and a terrier; the other was part beagle and something I couldn’t recall.
“Good morning,” one of the ladies said smiling. The act cajoled a smile from both of us. My partner politely nodded in their direction and made room for their passage along the concrete walk.
“That it is,” I said back to the ladies and their sprightly hounds.
“Is that your chair?” the other lady asked, pausing in front of our doorstep to examine the piece of furniture.
“Yes, ma’am,” I said.
“Lovely,” she said, marveling. “The color, so organic. What a rich green! So vibrant!” She examined the pristine wooden frame, stained a rich mahogany, and the pea-green upholstery, high-backed, and in historic cathedral tradition.
“Indeed,” I agreed wholeheartedly. “I just picked up the cathedra from the old ministry on the union square. Already I’ve grown most affectionate for it.”
From my partner erupted a condescending snicker.
I shot him a look to not pursue the matter anymore and bid the old ladies farewell.
“A blessed day,” they both called back in their own times, already making haste down the block in attempt to corral their canine companions.
“It’s most retched day,” I said, turning to my partner once the ladies were out of sight. “And not a word about the blasted chair!” I motioned for him to prop the door open.
“Oh,” he said, lining up his latest, greatest insult. “But I thought you’d grown ‘affectionate’ of this chair. Is this not what you wanted?”
“It is what I wanted,” I said with a groan, hoisting the chair off the ground with his assistance. The dense wood, maple, made the wooden seat beyond heavy, even for two grown men. “I’ll be happier once it’s inside.”
“You’ll be happier once it’s inside?”
“Yes,” that is what I just said.
After several minutes of angling and finagling, the chair finally wiggled through the threshold and was setting in the corner of our living room, an equal shade of green and with rich, mahogany hardwood floors. Beads of sweated dripped down my forehead, and one look at my partner told me he was just as tired.
“It is done,” I said with immense satisfaction and patted my partner on the back for the help.
“Are you pleased?” he asked, returning the gesture.
“I am,” I said back graciously.
And with a smile he replied, “Then that is your life.”
Chad W. Lutz was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1986 and raised in the neighboring suburb of Stow. A 2008 graduate of Kent State University's English program, Chad is attending Mills College in pursuit of an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in telling lies (Fiction). His writing has been featured in Diverse Voices Quarterly, Kind of a Hurricane Press, Haunted Waters Press, and Sheepshead Review. Chad runs competitively and won the Lake Wobegon Marathon in May 2015, and recently took second at the 2 Cities Marathon in Fresno, 2016. He aspires to qualify for the Olympic Trials.