The Kitchen Table

Last night, at the freshly-cleaned patio table, now sitting in the kitchen (the kitchen table gone to its new owner), over perhaps the weirdest impromptu menu ever—flatbread and hummus, cheese and crackers, tomatoes, sushi, shrimp, and, for old-time’s sake, Delissio pizza—served on tiny paper plates, and over wine and champagne served in water glasses, we bade the empty rooms and now-supremely-clean showers and closets good-bye.

How we emptied the many rooms was via Kijiji, and what a lovely and horrible tool it is. How many hundreds of email did I respond to before we sold the extra beds and too-big tables and all the rest? No matter that the ads we posted contained measurements and photos and descriptions and prices. The inquiries kept coming: “How wide is it? How deep? How tall? What kind of shape is it in? What colour?”

Do they not know how to read, I wondered, and are they colour-blind? And are they really too busy to get themselves over here to have a look at the item they’re interested in?

My favourite inquiries: “I don’t have much money; will you give it to me? And I don’t have a truck; will you deliver?” Noooo, I’m afraid not, I don’t have a truck either, and unless you’re a close friend we’re not giving it away; we’d like to take a teensy bit of cash away from this to help replace the over-sized table and chairs and get something that will fit into our new little space.

So we patiently persevered and sold a ton of stuff. And then last night, with the help of a little wine and the two family members living in town and their significant others, we remembered our decade here. The countless conversations at the kitchen table, the bocce games, the parties, the Christmases, the bad-word Scrabble games over which the young-adult blended family bonded. Laughter and love and chaos. We remembered how small the trees out back were when we first came here, how they provided neither privacy, nor shelter from the giant sprinklers beyond the fence, which would sometimes soak sleeping girls on the trampoline in the wee hours.

We remembered a handful of dramatic and unforgettable conflicts. Some mistakes. Christmas vacation two years ago, days before we imparted the news of my cancer to the family, truly having remembered only the love and laughter and completely having forgotten the plot and the ending, we showed The Family Stone.

In the privacy of my room in the early hours of this morning, I said good-bye to a few truly excruciating moments, moments of serious illness with one or the other, moments of relational agony, moments I very much want to leave behind.

It was the good times we focussed on last night though, which is how it ought to be, and for which I’m deeply thankful. Pain comes and goes and, as long as the lessons remain, doesn’t need to be held; it’ll come around again soon enough. But the love, the joy, those are worth chasing and holding close.

So we laughed and ate, shed a few tears, said good-bye to an era, and turned our faces to the new one.