Growing up, our father had a big ol’ over-stuffed leather chair and ottoman positioned just so — enabling him to watch our black & white at just the right angle. That was HIS chair. All the dirty rubber bands from the evening newspapers, his toothpicks, his torn-out magazine articles, his dog-eared paperbacks, collected on, in or by his chair. If one of us girls happened to be sitting in HIS chair when he came in the living room to watch TV or read the paper, we had to vamoose out that chair lickety-split, forfeiting all rights to the seat. Saturdays we would dig through the chair sides under the seat pillow, searching for loose change and coins that had slipped out of his pockets throughout the week as he sunk further into the chair. On a good week, we could net a hefty profit, easily tripling our paltry allowance. Most times, it was a bust. The years brought longer afternoon naps and more cracks to the aging dried out leather, the worn seat sagged way below the equator, the arm rests wiggled but stayed put with extra nails to the frame, and it was still HIS chair. Worn down, broken-in, and mighty comfortable, that chair was dad’s and always would be.
Tiamo had a special seat as well. Our kilim covered ottoman-slash-coffee table on steroids. As a puppy, the ottoman was the only piece of furniture low enough for her to climb up on. All of 10 weeks old, Tiamo would put her front paws on the top edge of the large oversized ottoman, her short little hind legs furiously working to gain purchase as she would pull herself up to the top where victory lay. And there she lay, eyes sparkling from her achievement. From the day she reached the summit, that ottoman has been hers and hers alone. That was her spot, her place, her chair. If someone happened to be encroaching on her ottoman, a bark and a paw nudge was usually enough to get them to move along to another spot. We have experienced her literally pushing us off her spot, leaning with all her body weight until we gave in and let her have her ottoman back.
When the puppies were born, her ottoman became more sacred and Tiamo became more territorial with her special place. Momma had staked her claim to the ottoman years prior and no little whippersnapper was going to poach on it. Amore and Dolce eventually learned to leave the ottoman to Tiamo. The only trespasser allowed on the ottoman, was Thugs, our cat at the time, whom Tiamo grew up with and had always been protective of.
When Tiamo passed, Malcolm and I wondered who would be the first to take over the ottoman. Dolce or Amore? Both had tried repeatedly, but to no avail when Tiamo was alive. My bet was on Dolce, as Amore has always preferred the cold brick floor under her belly. So far, neither has shown any desire to acquire the ottoman as “theirs”. Amore has jumped over it, Dolce has used the ottoman as a launching pad to chase after Amore, but the girls have yet to enjoy their afternoon nap, stretched out with the sun warming their belly, on the ottoman. In their minds, it will always be Tiamo’s ottoman.
And, perhaps Gordita’s, one of the few intruders Tiamo allowed on her “spot”.