For as long as I could remember, my parents had kept a wooden rocking chair with a small, square, flower-print cushion in the living room by the old fireplace.
There was nothing significant about it. It had left a dent in the living room carpet over the years and no one really sat on it.
I started sitting on it in my teens, just to read textbooks or take naps, but only when no one was at home. It was far too awkward to sit on it when my parents were home. They made it out to be some sort of antique decoration piece.
My father clearly felt the same way, he sat on it at night, when no one would have noticed except me. My room was directly above the living room and I heard the light sound of the rocking chair creaking only after I knew my mother was fast asleep.
I was at an age when fighting with my parents was common and my mother yelled at me at dinner one night about sitting in the rocking chair and thinking that she wouldn't notice.
"It's an antique!" she stated, "you can't just sit on an antique!"
I looked at my father for support but he avoided my glance and stared at his plate.
Of course, in an attempt to spite them, the next day, I sat on that rocking chair and did what most teenage boys do when no one is home.
In the moment, I grew distracted and somehow tipped myself and the rocking chair sideways onto the floor.
I got up quickly and lifted the rocking chair back into place.
Much to my horror, there was a deep scratch in the wood varnish on the side of the arm rest – nothing noticeable by any eye other than an antique hunter, but definitely there.
I cursed aloud and quickly formulated a conversation to have with my father, the softer parent, that night.
"Why do we keep that chair, Dad?" I asked him, "It's ugly and no one uses it anyway."
He looked at me with understanding, "I know that, but it's important to your mother. You know, your grandmother spent the last two, very painful years of her life rocking in that chair; When she couldn't fall asleep at night, she'd rock in that chair and scratch the varnish off the armrests; she said it was the only thing that brought her peace."