This short story was inspired when a friend posted several pictures of tables (the furniture kind.) An everyday object you might think, but the first showed a young couple at a romantic dinner, the second a happy family eating together, and the final, poignant one an empty table. This was my interpretation of the story of life.
I may be old but my legs are still sturdy and I stand strong and proud as I’ve always done.
My first home was with newly-weds. I remember their reaction when they first saw my price tag. Money was tight, it was an exclusive shop and they were only browsing for when their football pools came up. Nevertheless I could tell from their backward glances that if we all survived this damn war they would be happy to see me grace their home.
I remember the day they came back, still in uniform, the same day peace was declared. I listened as they explained to the salesman that they had made a promise to themselves that if they survived they would live for today and worry about the cost tomorrow.
I was appreciated and polished daily. It was my privilege to be there when the lady announced they were expecting their first born. There was so much love in that house, and even when the family grew they taught their offspring to treat me with respect.
Years passed, the children became part of the swinging 60s, and although I was still cared for I only came into my own for the family at Christmas. The rest of the time I was forlorn. The parents ate off trays on their laps in front of the TV, and the children dined on their takeaways.
With the passage of time the grandchildren used my still lustrous surface to rest on while they drew their unidentifiable pictures of the family, which would then take pride of place on the kitchen walls.
Tastes change. When the life span of my young couple was complete I was put into storage until their estate was finalised. It was a conundrum that while my age made me more valuable, the modern minimalist way of life had no room for large, solid furniture of my ilk.
I found myself in an auction room and was gratified as the bids went higher and higher. Even as an inanimate object I had selected my preferred next owners from the gentle way they examined me prior to the sale. It was not to be. A businessman with an eye to the main chance submitted the highest bid and my next abode was in an arty-farty gallery for the rich and famous.
Before long I was transported to the home of a celebrity whose wild, drug crazed party guests cared little for the damage an unextinguished cigarette could do to my surface.
I degenerated to the stage where I became worthless, and was given to a charity shop as a cheap means of disposal. Fate shone on me when despite my condition I was bought for a few pounds and taken to an old people’s home.
At first I was embarrassed and ashamed but the memories I evoked in the residents brought back reminiscences of happier days. Being of a similar age they appreciated the workmanship that had gone into my making.
Once again I was treated with love, polish and respect. I returned to my former glory and the soft caresses of arthritic hands bring me joy in my old age. I am happy to spend my final days here until my legs buckle, my wood splits and my useful days are over.
Who knows? Maybe the world will learn the value of recycling and my life will begin again, perhaps as shelves or as a wooden shed to bring joy to future generations.