“And there are not many memories in the parlor; everyone would file in there when we had to open gifts; there was the -this giant...the windows were big, they were not quite floor to ceiling, little shorter, like you couldn’t see the bushes outside but probably three-quarters to ceiling; you could see the pool and the entire courtyard and I remember some -some mornings waking up and it would be rainy outside; remember looking out and everything was just gray and foggy...misty, mystical rain creeping onto the pool, watering the really rich dark green grass in the courtyard and seeing it all happen through the blinds; it’s the feeling of a lazy Saturday morning -lazy Saturday morning when you’ve woken up just a little bit too early but the thought of going back to sleep hasn’t even crossed your mind; maybe I’d just finished an episode of Tom and Jerry. Somehow, I’d wander in, I don’t think -I don’t think she would ever -I don’t think she was there at this point, this happened multiple times, she was sitting there with her coffee and her paper; just sit there in the chair, at her normal spot -I had a normal spot at that dining room table; it was to the -to the left; let’s see...you’d walk in -walk in to the dining room and Gaya sat at the head of the table directly when you walked in; Christmas cactus's were lining the breakfast nook behind her near the window looking out, and she would face the parlor and I would sit, not on her right-hand side, but the seat right next to it, I think Seth sat right next to her right-hand side, and sometimes we’d switch off and I’d sit next to her, but for the most part I sat at the far-left, right when you’d walk closest to the parlor, but not at the end of the table; but sometimes I’d sit across from there; I feel like I remember seeing that foggy, misty, peaceful morning from sitting in the far-left corner.”
It’s interesting how important familiar seating is to us. How integral it is to our comfort. The table sat six people. When you’d enter the dining room from the kitchen, Gaya sat at the head of the table. Clockwise from that, was a seat with a non-specific occupant, and the seat after (closest to the curio shelf) was one of my familiar spots were I could sit opposite the breakfast nook and observe the inlaid square patterns and groves with great interest. The seat directly opposite of me was another that I frequented. From this one I could study the black velvet roses and vases hung on the wall, or peer out on scenes like the misty morning through the unspoken boundary of the parlor. It was from that spot that I remember hearing her scathing tongue for the first time. She was unpleased with my mother’s decision to sport a buzz-cut. A style I loved on her. She happened to be wearing a kerchief that day, and Gaya thought to voice her opinion of it. The air was tense, and unpleasant. Very different from the calm of Sunday mornings. There was no excuse for her behavior. And I remember my mother’s face, in my chair underneath my black velvets, and maybe that’s why we like the same spots in rooms; because things go wrong when we shift.