I only remembered this because I was laid on my couch contemplating getting rid of my current (rectangular) dining table and replacing it with a round one.
It got me thinking about how tables have played a big part in my life.
Okay, not big, but significant.
Take the table I have right now for instance. It was given to me by my great-auntie at a time I needed a table badly.
It replaced a monstrosity of a table given to me by my ex-boyfriend (aka: The Conman) that turned out to be too large for my kitchen and was paid for with money stolen from his mother (I did not know this at the time). It covered all but a few inches of space around the perimeter of the kitchen, so we had to squeeze in to get around anywhere and my son had one less room to run around in.
I got rid of it two days later despite hurting The Conman’s feelings, and luckily this pine 4 seater was offered to me immediately.
But it came in pieces.
It was still in pieces when I ordered T.C to get out of my house and my life. He packed his things and made some phone calls then came downstairs to say goodbye. As I stood by the kettle waiting for it to boil, he suddenly began to fix the table together for me as a parting gift.
I’ll admit, this good deed swayed my resolve and I became tearful. At that point I only knew he was lazing about and sponging off me and I was sick of it— I had no idea that he’d been shagging lap dancers, stealing thousands of pounds off his mother to fund his cocaine habit, or that he’d lied to me about his stage 3 cancer diagnosis.
When he’d finished erecting the table we sat down at it, facing each other and shared a smoke, both upset about it ending but knowing it had to.
Just then his phone rang. I heard a female voice say she would be there for him within the hour. I looked at him, shell-shocked. So he’d been upstairs arranging for another woman to take him in, just like that.
I knew it must be his ex.
I was overcome with rage.
I screamed at him and he backed out into the yard. Then I grabbed his bags and threw them out after him and locked the door. I sat back at the table, head in hands and cried. My heart was broken. How could he replace me so quickly when I was meant to be the love of his life?
It took three more months to uncover the extent of his lies and eventually I had to flee my home with my son and file for a restraining order.
The table was taken apart and brought to our new home in a new town. I put it together myself this time, and then bleached it and cleaned it with saltwater.
The table had already seen plenty of drama before it reached me. My great-aunties son is a heroin addict and I’m sure she sat at it many a night with her head in her hands, too.
It makes me wonder, is this table embued with a certain energy that attracts people suffering with addiction and trauma? Did I attract it?
It was at this point in my reflection that I remembered the dream I had years before:
I was walking around a stately room, beautifully furnished with plush red carpets, floor to ceiling bookcases filled with thousands of ancient volumes and shiny solid mahogany furniture. The room filled up with people of the aristocracy. And then I realized that I was, in fact, a table. Not even a dining table, but a casual coffee/cocktail table sitting at knee height. Okay, I was made of beautiful wood and clearly taken care of…but a table?
People were just chatting and clinking glasses and putting them down on me, along with their leftover canapes.
I’m still unsure of what this dream means — that I’m a helpful? A practical part of people’s lives — but ultimately just something to lean on and set things down on?
Back to the present.
I look at the table in my new living room with new eyes.
We’re a couple of floors up in a Victorian house and I feel safe here, and blessed. The table has seen many good times since The Addict and Conman days.
My fluffy black cat purrs underneath it as I write, and the wall it sits up against has a large mirror strung with fairy lights and is filled with my son’s artwork.
We sit at this table every day to eat, to do crafts, to talk, and I write and drink coffee there while looking out the window to the sea.
I love this table — now I think about it.
I have a newfound respect for it.
It reminds me of how far we’ve come, and that everything has a story. I’ll never forget that I was once a table, too, and how nobody took the time to see my true worth or considered what I’d lived through, or where I came from.
So, Instead of replacing it, I’m going to repaint it and honour it’s place in my life.
Thank you table. You remind me that I don’t need to rely on a man for anything ever again. I put your pieces back together myself, and I’ve shown you that there is life after abuse and trauma.