Lesson 7: I see only the past


Ouch! Holding on to the stubbed toe, I hopped to the sofa and collapsed on it. Vigorously rubbing the throbbing toe, I tried to wean some pain out of it. The dammed table. It was always in the way. It was too big for the room. I growled at it. I hated it. From the day that wretched thing had come home, it had made my life miserable. I rued the moment I decided to buy it, after seeing it on that website. Why didn’t I pay attention to its measurements before buying it! Fancy website fleecing people. Why on earth did a coffee table have to be so huge! Those curved legs looked so ornate and regal in the website. Now it felt like they purposely protruded out just to trip me. I could swear that table really didn’t like me anymore than I did.

Sanjana came out of the bedroom and watched me hands on her hips. I immediately placed my feet back on the floor and smiled at her, trying to appear normal. “Hey dear, ready for work?” Then I noticed she was not dressed as yet.

“You stubbed your toe again? Why can’t you be careful? Or just sell that table! Why on earth are you insistent on keeping it? You hate it!” Her voice held more than a little derision.

“What rubbish! Why would I sell it? It cost an arm and leg, and it always gets us compliments.” No, I could not the table win. I could not let Sanjana win. She never let me forget what a bad buy that table was. No way was I going to let her be right.

Throwing her hands up in the air, Sanjana walked back inside. I watched to make sure she was gone before I quickly lifted my toe up for a rub again. It looked like a ripe red tomato. Oh dear, did I need to see a doctor? I wiggled it, and though it protested painfully, it felt ok. I raised my leg and placed it defiantly on the table. That table was not just a table. It was the bane of my existence. Every time I saw it, memories of all kinds rushed forth. The impulsive decision to buy, the moment of horror when I realized how big it was, wanting to keep my pride in front of Sanjana, feeling angry at myself for buying it, feeling angry at the table for being huge. Why could I not sell it like Sanjana said?

All I saw when I looked at the table was the past. All I saw with the table was my mistake. And I always took it out on the table. As I started at it, a random memory popped into my head. Last week, Sanjana and I had playfully chased each other around the table. Then, other memories began to float in. Board games played on the table, rounds of raucous carrom with friends, snacking on it as we gossiped with dear ones. Actually since it came, a lot of conversations, laughter and connections were literally forged around it. It had somehow become the center of our home!

I frowned at the thoughts in my head. I had never thought of anything good about the table. What was a table? Was it just wood and glass? Did it really feel upset with me? I looked at the table and saw only the past. All the good times. Sanjana walked by into the kitchen. I could hear her turn on the stove.

Walking up to the kitchen, I stood there staring at Sanjana who was busy toasting some bread. A few moments ago, I had wanted to prove her wrong. I only saw a person taunting me for a bad decision. I had not seen my wife. Did I ever see her as she was? Walking up to her, I hugged her. “You know that table was an unnecessary buy, but we have had good times with friends around it, right?”

Sanjana giggled. “Don’t feel guilty. Get ready and have breakfast.”

As I walked to the bedroom, I looked at the table and smiled. It wasn’t all that bad. Maybe we could still be friends, the table and I. It was time to let go of the war.

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