I bought myself a rocking chair. A big, beautiful thing weaved out of wicker. I chanced upon it at a vintage store a few minutes before closing time and fell in love right there. They told me the price and I winced. I gritted my teeth and nodded and the woman with a blue rinse behind the counter slapped a yellow 'sold' sticker on its back. I couldn't afford it but I needed it. You know how these things go.
I knew exactly where to put it. It sits on the front porch, next to a big, ugly armchair covered in faded roses. The armchair is by far the more comfortable option but it doesn't stand a chance. Between the two there is a glass topped table, average but useful in the obvious sense. The rocking chair looks better with a cushion placed upon it but after the first sitting, I removed it. It is not a particularly effective rocking chair in terms of its name. It rocks a little, so long as I keep both feel on the ground, otherwise the weight disperses unevenly and I slide gently off onto the concrete. Of course, there would be no such problems with its plushy neighbor but this is not the way things are done. A wicker rocking chair adds something that an armchair doesn't. Perhaps it is in the same vein that a person of a creative disposition favours hand rolled cigarettes over tailored ones, a fountain pen over a biro. There is something to be said for aesthetic, and in the same way, there is a quiet fear of comfort, of the easy way out. People who claim to be artists will listen to music exclusively on vinyl if they think it proves something.
Sitting in the rocking chair has become something of a ritual already. It faces out over Hodgkinson Street, a pretty if rather bland piece of suburb which is lovely for people watching if you don't mind the odd group of patrons in tracksuits. It is here I sit most mornings and evenings, staring out over the street between pages of whatever pretentious novel I am currently devouring. The garden at the front is a mess but has potential. I smoke too many cigarettes and drink pot after pot of tea, feeling mostly at peace with the world, except when I am not.
Art seems constantly to mirror life in this strange space. Yesterday afternoon, a domestic dispute was clearly audible in the brick bungalow across the street. A woman screamed hoarsely about something I couldn't make out and a deeper voice reacted with equal viciousness. I was reading Rock Springs; a collection of short stories by Richard Ford about desperate people living too close to the bottle in dismal American towns. Several pages later, I heard something smash within the brick walls. Bleak fiction is wonderful as long as you aren't feeling bleak yourself. I finished my cigarette and went inside to clean the kitchen. Today, I rocked myself slowly through the opening chapter of Robert Drewe's The Shark Net; a memoir about a string of murders in the sun baked suburbs of Perth. The weather was perfect.
The rib is almost healed, other things take longer.