Open Heart

The red and white chair catches my eye on the vintage shop’s Facebook page one evening, just as we are moving into our new house. I have never bought anything vintage or antique, or even vaguely non-IKEA. But there’s something about the toile fabric, the tall back, the diamond-shaped cushion: I have to have it.

It’s light enough that I carry it up the stairs by myself. I know the perfect spot—right in front of my mirrored dressing table, still wrapped in blankets by the movers. I notice one tiny brass wheel on the chair is loose, but no matter: I have romantic visions of myself sitting here, writing letters on pretty stationery, collecting knickknacks and pictures and small vases with wildflowers.

We are efficient unpackers: we get everything done in a single weekend—pictures on the walls, empty boxes broken down, beds made. We drink cold beer under the ceiling fan in our bedroom, plotting remodeling projects and more furniture and brighter light fixtures. He is exhausted, his back sore. I rub right between his shoulder blades, where the pain is most intense.

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