My coffee table had evolved from a kind thought to an emotional burden. A vintage, custom-restored, part badass, part beautiful complement to my nautical rug and velvet sofa that felt more like an anchor of misery than a creative focal point. An unnecessary heaviness weighing down the brilliance of my intentionally decorated living space. I set down my glass of wine, kicked off my Nike Frees and gently placed my anti-stink athletic socks onto said burden. I leaned back and contemplated the rather large, unopened Fed Ex box that had arrived in the mail for me four days prior. The day before my birthday.
It was a picture. In fact, I knew exactly what picture it was. Maybe that’s why I had let it sit unopened in my hallway for four days. Birthday girl! You have package here! my super said cheerfully several times until this evening when he pulled me aside and gave me a stern look. Emma, what’s wrong you not want to take that package? Ugh, alright. I’ll take it in, I conceded. Mia shied away from the package like she sensed some bad juju seeping through the cardboard. With the coffee table and the package, she had taken to sleeping under the kitchen table. It’s okay Mia, I said robotically. She looked over at me and cocked her head like yeah right. I closed my eyes and wondered if I should just send the package back, but gifts are my love language. With extra care so as not to get stabbed from the bad juju, I cut open the tape and pulled the top of the box apart. Inside was a wrapped picture and a plastic bag from my very favorite store in Paris where my ex boyfriend had vacationed this summer with his then girlfriend. I picked up the package: Comme des Garçons. Unbelievable, I thought as I tossed the box onto my credenza and began opening the picture.
The photo was indeed the beautiful photo I asked for many times during and after and during and after our rollercoaster relationship. The last time I had asked him was sometime in late spring in a moment of weakness, claiming I needed proof of his love for me. But now? Now I have absolutely no use for another wretched reminder. It had to go. I drank the rest of my wine and decided to man up. This apartment is an authentic expression of a stunning evolution that exudes beauty and serenity. This is no place for anchors of misery. I have to get these out of here! I declared. This pathetic picture! This troubled table! They have got to go and have to go now! Immediately, I made arrangements to send the photo to someone who will love and appreciate it more than me. But the fucking table, I wondered.
Enter: Larry from Craigslist.
Through the door I saw a giant man standing waiting to be let in, and only then realized I shouldn’t have a guy from Craigslist over when I’m home alone. But then I saw Larry’s face. It was the face of jolly old Saint Nick – red and full and smiling. As we walked to my apartment Larry said he had been looking for one of these tables for a while and planned to buy it today. Today? I asked. Yes today. My truck is right outside. Like today, today? I asked. Um, yes. Larry was confused. Is today okay? Um, sure. Well, let me tell you a little about the table, I replied. As Larry circled the table, I recited the opening line to my table story just as I had rehearsed. May I get you something to drink Larry, water, tea, espresso? He declined. Well, I continued, I had this table custom made by a woman in Towson, Maryland. I can send you records of her restorations. That’s not necessary, he said softly. I had it made for my ex boyfriend but we broke up mid restoration. Three weeks before Christmas, Larry. Huh? It was three weeks before Christmas when we broke up. Oh. But I went to get the table anyway thinking that maybe it was meant to be my table! But then two days after Christmas…
Larry’s eyes were glazed over as he waited for me to take a breath. I paused. I am going to take the table, he said quickly. I don’t want to talk you down in price. I just want the table. Um, well the table moved quite a bit because after I ended up giving him the table… It’s okay, he interrupted. I can fix any broken pieces. I hadn’t even gotten to the part where we moved in together and then I moved out and took the table because Larry didn’t care about the table’s story. Larry wanted to get out of this Wisteria-smelling apartment with it’s barking dog and chatty owner. Larry wanted the table in his truck. Larry was on his lunch hour. He pushed a stack of crisp hundred dollar bills into my hands. My wife can help me take it out if you can just help me through the door he said. Oh, sure. Sure. I said. Here let me… I had warned prospective buyers of the tables intense weight, but helping Larry, the table felt lighter, like in the transition from me to Larry the table shed it’s emotional burden and was ready for the next chapter of its life.
When I walked back into my apartment, Mia was sniffing a stack of cash on the floor wagging her curly tail. I picked up the money and placed it neatly in my new wallet (after all, evolution doesn’t negate the appreciate of designer French leather) while Mia bounced around in our newly created space.
With gratitude to Anne Catherine Justice to whom this title is credited. And, as always, my loves at The Classy Issue.