The Study Table

I am spending the day at my parents’. I look forward to catching up with family gossip and news, without having to worry about the children and their next meal. They are out with their dad for a day of fun.

I follow my mom and dad, in turns, chit-chatting, laughing and arguing. I sit on the kitchen counter, just as I did when I was a little girl, as my mom cooks a special lunch for me.

My dad ambles into the kitchen and tells me, “We are planning to dispose some of the furniture, books and a few other things around the house. If there’s anything you’d like, please take it.”

After a lovely lunch followed by coffee, I walk around the house. Nothing much has changed. My eyes take-in the various pieces, the corner table, the old book shelf, the tall teak wood stool, the two coffee wood branches, the study table, the chest of drawers and the old rocking chair.

My eyes keep going back to the study table. It is actually much more than a study table. We only call it that for identification.

It is made of teak wood and is 3 feet by 1.5 feet, not too big. The polish has long since worn off. As the afternoon sunlight falls on it, I remember long ago afternoons, when the sunlight streamed in and my sister & I sat on either side, doing our homework, legs kicking at each other for fun or in anger. We were territorial about our parts of the table.

I see my dad sitting at the table, a young dad, filling up important documents. I see my mom, using it to cut cloth for her sewing. I see the huge ink stain, faded with age, that resembled a cow with three horns. I see the scratches we made using our compasses. I see my grandma sitting up late into the night, with us, as we studied for exams.

I see the number of coffee mugs that the table has borne over the years, the weight of books, the weight of freshly ironed clothes, the scratches and thumps. I see young elbows pressed on the table as we leaned over it to see the first frost of winter.  I see my grandma leaning on it for support immediately after her surgery, before she sat down on her bed. I see the old wood that has absorbed many a tear, and has heard stories of the many successes, the joys and not so good moments of our family.

I run my hand lovingly over its contours. My mind is made up. I tell my dad that I want this study table.

My mom says, “It just needs a good polish.”

I don’t tell them, but I plan to keep it just as it is – a simple study table, with family stories in its scratches, years of wear and tear, and precious memories.

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