Not like I have a special fondness for furniture. Not like I’m a wood guy, in fact the closest I’ve been to wood is that early-in-the-morning briefs classic. I’ve planted a tree before though and I own a mini forest back home. I also feel trees have feelings and their lives matter too. I once belonged to the Green Party. I feel for trees.
Do I feel for wood? Much as I feel it every morning, after every flirt or dub, I don’t really know.
Do I feel for furniture? Can’t tell. There are some things I’ll never know.
But I know, I know there’s something poignant about dining tables. Looking around, I think it’s the most maudlin item in the house.
By the house, I mean the house, not the one roomed ‘homes’ we had a campus which doubled as both bedroom and living room. Sometimes as the garage and kitchen.
In a house, a real house; a house house, not the couch, not the kitchen sink, not even the bed has a more lasting touch-bear-on than the dining table.
Not like I’m a foodie or something. Not like I treasure the food moments and the table talk or anything. Or perhaps do I? I wouldn’t know.
I’ll really never know why it is like that, but I can certainly try and track back to growing up…
There was this dining table of ours once upon a time. Fine strong wood, with a dark classic shade, very sleek. It wasn’t made of oak but was equally beautiful. If it were a woman, it’d be She of perfectly shaped curves, strong big legs, a smooth skin and no make-up on. Raw and beautiful as could be.
I fell in love with this one table, not because it knew the covers of all my class books, it’d kissed them all.
Not because it gave me company as I did my rather rugged homework, homework which I’d do immediately after school just before I escaped to play in the evening sunset. I fell in love, for some reason I’ll someday understand.
We had a weird bond; this table and I. It was I who was always tasked to clean it. And clean it I’d do, With utmost care for detail. Its legs, with a wet towel. Under its feet, the base. I’d make sure the ridges were dusted and the foodstuffs that had fallen in the crevices and turned black; I’d remove with a tooth pick, pin or the fork with the middle finger (middle metal) that I’d specially curved for that purpose.
Perhaps I minded more about cleaning it because of the numerous times I caught myself thinking deep, with eyes closed and or in a deep slumber head first, sometimes cheek second. I never drooled or it’d never forgive me. No
one ever forgets being drooled on. And from experience I say this; my chest has seen one or two wettings.
That table was the factory of my dreams and my aspirations.I tend to believe that if it had a slot for inserting a memory card, I’d download one or more of my long forgotten
That was eons ago, when I was young; so young like just a little bit before teenage young. Twelve and below. In the late 1990s. that was when I stayed in the cold and beautiful hills of some town in western Uganda. One of the few places in Uganda with 4 seasons, Winter, Summer to Spring.
I’d later leave it behind as I moved to our other home in the city. I missed it as the city one wasn’t as immersing.
The new one was all fancy and thin, it looked all starved and yearning for more of substance. Thin wood wasn’t captivating. It appeared to be frail, inept and too exotic. All beauty no substance. It didn’t get to me, my spirit wandered; my love, my touch was lost. I lost my feels, I lost it all.
The connection with furniture, I lost it, I forgot all about my long lost first love. And they say the firsts, cut the deepest. It was more because I’d left it at a young age. I was in p3 then. My love of 6 years forgotten because of proximity and more because of a young mind.
My love-hate relationship persisted, I remember trying in vain, to forge a special relationship with the desk on which I sat all my primary school life. I’d lost that part, that affection. Much as from my desk I’d become first in class till p7, we didn’t share much. In fact I shared a stringer bond with my seatmate Mable than my desk.
Much as that desk kept my books and my sweater. Much as Mable who didn’t take porridge and only fed on milk,
stocked like 3 cups of evening porridge in its belly for me; as I was out playing football,nothing, no special
relationship was made.
Even as we used to bang our desks like drums whenever teachers had a meeting in the staff-room or an outing and weren’t in proximity, the beat never bonded us.
We would organize an orchestra of desks. See desks made different sounds when banged. Depending on the wood used, the size, the thickness. And we enjoyed that all our primary days. We even had a conductor for our orchestra. It got
us punished severely too.
It’s funny how the desk always moved from one class to the next upon promotion to the next class. Funnier how Mable and I would tag along. From p4 to p7. It’s funnier how we got the same results in the Primary Leaving Examinations.
I tend to think it wasn’t in the water, perhaps in the desk.
It’d be an unimaginable 9 years till I reunited with the dining table I’d fallen in love with growing up. It gave me joy to find out she hadn’t moved on. Not an inch. She was as I’d left her, in the same spot too. She looked as natural and strong as shed always been and as thick as well thick can be.
There was something about it. My furniture fetish came up again. And we stopped from where we’d stopped like nothing had happened. So much for a marriage partner.
She needed a bath, she needed thorough cleaning, for she wasn’t being cared for as I once did. And in two days we’d reached the panacea we both craved.
I was in A ‘level then with quite the heavy load that was books, mathematics books, physics books, chemistry books, books of all flavors. We shared them together, Table and I. Sometimes in the company of Larry London and his VOA Music Mix.
Same as we shared the late night Pop and Alternative music on American radio stations. And my deep slumbers time and again when I forgot to toss myself into my loft, or was convinced I was, but wasn’t the case.
We had our times. My childhood dining table and I. Oh my Wood, it was a tale to tell.