Red Chair Stories

The red chairs scattered along Bank Street inspired our young writers to become storytellers. Photo : Liz McKeen

The red chairs scattered along Bank Street inspired our young writers to become storytellers. Photo : Liz McKeen

Before school was out in June, the Glebe Report got in touch with local schools to see if there were any budding authors lurking in the halls of academe, whose writing could be brought into the light of day. Just for fun, we asked them to write stories – any kind of story – about the mysterious red chairs that are scattered along Bank Street.

The four stories that follow are by members of teacher Manmohan Panesar’s Grade 6 class last year at First Avenue Public School: Jasmine L., Corinne B., Maddie H-K. and Julia H. More stories will follow in future issues of the Glebe Report.

Look closer
By Maddie H-K.

When you walk down Bank Street, you will see chairs. Seemingly meaningless chairs. One day, however, if you look closer, you will see more than the painted chairs on the surface. I know I did. Of course, what you see may be different than what I did.
I was seven when I perceived another side of those chairs. At the time, I was in an atrocious mood.

“Angelina, apologize to your sister this instant! Pinching her is never acceptable!” my mother shouted crossly.

“No, she was being mean!” having a twin was such a pain!

“Alright, then you can stay outside while we get ice cream,” she retorts, marching into the ice cream shop, hand in hand with my smirking twin, Jen.

I collapse sulkily on a fiery red chair, a scowl plastered on my face, my hands clenched in sweaty fists.

Just then, I realized that, in reality, I was perched in a small cluster of chairs. Two of which were identical: twins. Just like Jen and me. There were other chairs as well: one for my mother, one for my father, even a small one for my baby brother! A family.
After that day, I learned to appreciate art, and see the hidden meaning.

Now, at age 20, I am an artist (who specializes in sculptures) thanks to those chairs. My favourite subject? Family.

The chair
By Corinne B.

I look up at the shimmering stars in the midnight sky. From where I sit, they seem so small, so fragile, but in reality they are unimaginably large. Strong. Stable.
The cool metal of the chair tickles my hand’s bare flesh, as it so often does. I have been here before.

This is where I go to dream. I dream of the hope that I grasp so rarely, drowned in a world of sorrow and despair.

I smile. I smile at the sparse joy that the chair provides. The chair is not magic, but it feels so magical, like all my worries, all my pain, is just… gone. The feeling wraps itself around me, holds me tight and keeps me safe.

The chair doesn’t represent protection and refuge for one, but for all. It represents a complete and pure togetherness that so few are lucky enough to notice.
It represents a community.

Goodbye Elizabeth
By Julia H.

I sat down, my head dangling hopelessly from my petite frame and my lips formed a deep mourn. That chair I sat on now was my only comfort for my painful loss. How I wish it hadn’t changed within what seemed to be a blink of an eye like it did, my life used to be so carefully formulated with no surprises. Well that was before Elizabeth, my sweet delicate sister, died exactly one month ago to this very day. On quite lazy Saturday afternoons that droned on at the pace of me “doing” math homework my sweet little five-year-old sister and I went to what she called the magic chair that we could be or do anything when we sat on it. I can still faintly remember her sweet strawberry coconut shampoo and her high-pitched voice that sounded warm and inviting like a warm cup of cocoa on a blistering cold evening in late January. Everyone on Bank Street stared at us fooling around on that bright red chair like we were insane, but we didn’t care because we were together and that was all that mattered. Now it’s just me, the chair and Elizabeth’s shadow.

The passive past
By Jasmine L

When I was younger I made the biggest mistake of my life: I was passive. Too passive. I would let opportunities fly by me and I neglected to seize them. I just sat there and watched my life go on without me. It was like I was a ghost; not living in the present and not having any fun.

I walked impatiently yet slowly towards the chairs on the corner of Fourth and Bank. A few days prior to this I had received an anonymous letter telling me to meet at the chairs and they would reveal my future lifestyle. I reached the chairs and waited anxiously for someone to come. I waited and waited and waited! Eventually I decided they would never come and I sat down, disappointed. Then a life-changing miracle happened! The words, “Live in the present, you will never be the same again” flashed once in my mind then disappeared. It was then that I realized how passive I was and took the chair’s advice.

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