Ten years ago my only son moved away, leaving behind an extremely bereft pair of parents.
However, he also left behind an empty room. After a few weeks of moping, it occurred to me that creating a reading room of my own could be very helpful in easing the pain of an empty nest.
With a fresh coat of pain, a lovely floral patterned comforter with coordinating window treatments, a couple of small lamps to shed a warm glow on the page, a small stereo to play chamber music, and my own little desk from college (which had been gathering dust in our basement), this “reading room of my own” was nearly complete. And it was far enough away from our family room that the television was (almost!) inaudible.
All I needed was The Reading Chair.
Chairs are all important for the reader, aren’t they? I like to sit sideways when I read -literally curled up with my feet on the chair beside me. So my reading chair needed to be fairly wide across the seat. In this position, I prop my book on the arm of the chair, which must also be of decent breadth to support some of the weightier tomes I take up. A high back is also a must, for sometimes my neck tires and my head will need to rest against a cushion. And, just in case I need to stretch out a bit, a matching ottoman, which doubles as the perfect resting spot for one or two small dogs.
So began the hunt for the perfect chair. Feeling more and more like Goldilocks, I traversed the furniture stores, book in hand, trying out chair after chair. Too soft, too hard, too low or too high, arms too narrow, seat too shallow…it appeared the perfect chair had not been created.
Finally I found it. Every characteristic exactly what I needed. It conformed to my body shape perfectly, allowed me to sink into in just deeply enough, my head to relax against the soft back at just the proper angle, my book resting comfortably on the solid arm. A matching ottoman was available, one plenty wide enough to allow a small dog to cuddle against each of my feet.
For nearly ten years now, I’ve been curling up in my Reading Chair. On days like today, when midsummer humidity keeps me indoors, the ceiling fan overhead cools me with a gentle breeze as I read. In the dead of winter, I pull down the shades and cocoon myself with a soft pink blanket, shutting out the snow and ice swirling around outside.
A small table stands beside me, a place to set my coffee mug in the morning, an iced tea in the afternoon, or a glass of wine in the evening. Usually a stack of books is perched there as well, with a notebook and pen in case some snippet cries out to be recorded.
There’s also a photograph of a small boy wearing a red sweater and a blue baseball cap, smiling sweetly and keeping his mom company in her reading room.
Now tell me, do you have a special place to read?