At the table, there are exactly six chairs.
My father always sat at one end, the 'power chair,' he used to call it.
He always said it with a laugh.
The chair at the other end was always empty, reserved for guests that rarely came.
On my father's right would be my mother, so they can talk without having to raise their voices at each other.
Neither can hear very well.
Beside mother would be me.
I'd always be in charge of passing the food that was too far out of reach.
Brother would sit across from my mother, at my father's left.
He always had a story to tell.
Beside my brother was another empty seat, but it never truly was empty.
That seat was reserved for no guest, no one ever sat there.
No one we saw, at least.
Mother believed one seat should be saved for the friends we don't see.
That friend always sat across me.
Now, at the table, there are exactly six chairs,
but only two are sat on.
One for me,
the other for the friend I never see.