"You broke my five-dollar chair."
Kyle looked at me then at his brother. "No. This is how it happened."
I didn't really care about the chair. I'd bought it twenty years ago at Betty's Resale Shop or The Ark, one of those secondhand stores that used to be on North Lincoln Avenue. I'm surprised it lasted this long.
"You see," Kyle continued, "Ethan sat in the chair. Leaned back and broke it."
Anyone with a boy can work the visual here. Actually seeing them in a chair with four legs on the floor is anomaly. I've repeated the phrase, "Four on the floor," so often at dinnertime my family thinks it's part of my meditation practice. Sometimes they get mathematically uppity and say, "I do have four on the floor." Their two legs and two chair legs. Knyuck, Knyuck. "Six on the floor, then," I say, which, as far as mantras go, just doesn't have the same ring to it.
"But," Kyle continued again. "Ethan meticulously put the chair back together and left it sitting here in front of my desk. Then, when I sat down and the whole thing crumbled, Ethan says, 'You broke the chair!'"
"Kyle," I said. "You really need to be more careful with the furniture. I mean, especially after your brother took the time to so carefully repair the chair."
Fortunately for me, Kyle got my sarcasm. Fortunately for Ethan, Kyle didn't get hurt when he sat down on the chair. And Fortunately for Tanya I got there before Kyle could rebuild the chair yet again and put it in front of her desk.