The Red Chair (English)

I wrote this story when I was 14 years old and it later on served as the inspiration behind my company "Ariadne's Red Chair". Here is the English translation:

By Maria Dalekos
Translation by Irini Tzortzoglou

That morning mummy woke me up very early. I did not want to get up. I was pleading with her to let me stay in bed even just for five more minutes but she kept nagging me.

“Come on my darling, you know we are expecting guests.” What did they care if I was still in bed I thought? After all I was in my own house, my own bed!

“Come on now, today Mrs. Ioannou is coming to see the bed. Perhaps she will agree to buy it.”

Our bed? I could not believe it. “Where are we going to sleep tonight if you sell our bed?”

“We will stay with grandma. We only have three days till we leave to Canada. We will buy new furniture there.”

I couldn't understand why we did not load all our belongings on a big ship and take them with us. Mum suddenly appeared beaten. Perhaps she is exhausted with all the packing I thought. I planted a kiss on her cheek and run to wash my face. Dad's aftershave was on the washing machine, untouched, the bottle still full. I missed him so! Why did he have to go away? Why get a job abroad and why did he not at least take us with him? I brought the bottle to my nose. It smelt of him.

Each morning I would follow him around the house and in the bathroom I watched him brush his teeth, shave carefully and put his aftershave on. I used to laugh watching how he splashed his face with it. He, always playful, chased me round the house always ending up in the sitting room where he finally caught up with me and grabbed me from the waist. He would throw me on the red chair and tickle me till I could not stand it any longer.

I put the bottle down and went back to the sitting room. I was hoping they were gone so that I could watch cartoons as always. I so wished daddy was there to take me in his arms and hold me tight.

“Do you want to play?” Kostakis asked.

“No! I want daddy!” I shouted and regretted it instantly.

He stood there silent for a moment and then retreated in his usual corner of the room. He took the little train that daddy had bought him out of a carrier bag and started playing with it. “Choo choo choo choo,” he said.

The bell rang. Mum run to the door and let Mrs. Ioannou in. After a while they came into the sitting room where I was watching cartoons.

“Hello darling, how are you?” Before I had time to respond she was out again heading towards the dining room.

“You are giving me the dining table and chairs I hope now that I have agreed to the sideboard. After all, they match… Hello Kostaki.”

“I will make a good price for the TV if you want it,” mum said. “It's brand new.”

“Thank you Toula dear, but I am more interested in that side table. It looks like an antique.”

“This was gifted to me by my mother in law and I was thinking of leaving it with her, who knows... we may return some day and...”

“That's a shame, I really had my eye on that little table. After all, I am buying the bed, the carpet, even the washing machine. If it was me, I would give you the table for free.”

“Ok I suppose, if you want it so badly,” my mother said. “Shall I make some coffee?”

“Not yet.” Mrs. Ioannou was eyeing the pictures hanging around the room. “I love your pictures,” she said.

I so wished she went away, I did not like this woman one little bit! I caught her looking at me. Her gaze sent shivers down my spine.

“Get up, darling, let me look at this chair.”

My heart sank.

“Isn't this a convertible?”

“Yes, yes, the wood is German and the upholstery from Italy,” said mum.

My eyes welled up and I approached my mother. “Please don't sell the chair mum, this is dad's chair!”

“Poor darling, she is so cute,” Mrs. Ioannou said. “I will give you lots of money little one. You will need it. You can buy a new one in Canada.”

“I want this one!”

“Lenio darling, please, don't shout.”

I was inconsolable. I continued shouting and crying. Despite my efforts, Mrs. Ioannou talked my mum to sell the chair to her. Slowly - slowly I was seeing our house being emptied. First went the washing machine, then the table, then Mrs. Ioannou was giving her sons instructions how to carry the dining furniture so as not to scratch it. I caught a glimpse of her smile as she walked out with the chair. The door shut behind her and I felt a vacuum in the pit of my stomach. My cries ricocheted around the walls.


We only took the absolute necessities with us, all we could fit in two cases. Mum was holding Kostaki from one hand and me from the other. I held tight onto my doll, Lolo. We took our seats in the plane and the stewardess gave me paper and pens to draw with. When we were reaching
our destination, mum started teaching us some words like 'water'.

“What will you say to daddy when you see him?”

“Hello daddy, I love you,” Kostakis said.

Suddenly bad thoughts crossed my mind. What if daddy had forgotten us? What if our plane went to another country by mistake and when we said 'water' we were scorned? We came down the steps.

“Where is daddy,” I asked.

“Patience darling, he is waiting for us inside.”

It was freezing. The arrivals area was full of people. Our cases checked and our passports stamped, we walked outside. Daddy was nowhere to be seen. I held onto Lolo tightly. Mummy looked concerned.

“Hello daddy, I love you,” Kostakis said to himself.

“Mummy, are you sure we are in Canada?” I asked.

“Yes darling,” she said looking around. Men were hugging women, mothers were hugging children, everyone smiling, everyone happy. From afar, a man, unshaven was waving at us.

“Daddy!” I cried out and all three of us descended on him. He swooped us all up in his arms. I was happy.

“Hello daddy, I love you,” Kostakis said.

Our new house was very small and simple. Two rooms, three beds. A good quality dining table. We dropped our cases and went shopping.

“Water,” I shouted. “You see daddy, I speak English!”

“Do you fancy an ice-cream?” daddy asked and showed us a white van. “This van sells ice-creams.”

As we were served, my eye caught a small furniture shop. In the shop window, there was a red chair, just like that of my father. I run towards it. It was the same as ours. Daddy came closer.

“It's chocolate you wanted, isn't it?”

“Yes,” I said still looking at the chair.

“What's up darling? Do you need something?”

I gave the chair one last glance and smiling I said, “Yes, my ice-cream.”

You can also read this story in its original Greek text (see Pages in sidebar).

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