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  • Writer's pictureThe Damsel

The Arm Rest Perch

How young I was when I first sat and watched my grandpa write. How young I was when I took my seat beside him and watched as his thoughts spilled through his laptop's keyboard and into the computer.

     I don't remember when I began to sit where I did, but for as long as I can remember the natural place for me to sit was on the armrest of his lazy-boy. He was left-handed so I sat on the right arm of the seat.

     I remember when I was small enough that climbing up on the armrest was a feat. It would take effort, and once I made it up I would proudly sit on the armrest, as a dog might stand over a defeated enemy, I would straddle it.

     My grandpa never helped me up, he simply let me sit there. It was something that I won. I don't know how, it simply... was. He didn't entertain me once I had obtained my perch, he simply went on with what he did and I watched.

     As I grew and the perch was less formidable my cousins and little brother would try to climb up on the arm rest. They were smaller and what was a little tricky for me then was a major feat for them. Once one of them actually made it, I realized something. That armrest was my seat. It was my spot, and I didn't want them there.

     My grandpa, who never helped me sit there but simply let me stay, seemed to not let them stay. They would climb up and he would pull them onto his lap and eventually let them back on the floor. He would tickle them until they rolled off. They seemed to never be able to keep the spot that I so coveted. He loved all of us on his lap, but the arm rest was my perch. The lap and knee were for all of us, there were no rules about that. But there seemed to be an unstated rule that the arm rest was for me.

    His excuse was that I didn't tilt the chair back, supposedly the others did. They wanted to make the chair rock, he said, but I didn't.

     Maybe those were the reason why it was my perch. Perhaps though, he could see that I was proud of being left to perch there.

     We visited the grandparents every summer, it was something to expect. Every summer I was a year older than last summer. His arms rest became smaller, easier to perch on, and I would do so in-between games, meals, swimming, and reading. I perched when I was tired or when I simply wanted to lean my head on my grandpa's shoulder. He would smile. And I knew that my perch was mine, his silence made it so.

     That perch led to many things. But most of all, it was the time when I got to simply be with my grandpa. It let me breathe with him and know that I was loved.

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