My first significant act of the new year was to get rid of my dining room table. I used to have a fancy, stodgy mahogany table, part of a set. My ex and I bought it as one of our first acts as a couple when we first moved into this house fourteen years ago. It was the first thing to go after my ex-husband moved out.
It had some bad memories attached to it, memories of dinner parties that ended in criticism and unhappiness. In replacing it I went as far the other way as I could: a modern, glass-topped table that only seated four. The formal table had represented me trying to be someone that I’m wasn’t. I didn’t choose it and I never lived up to its slick little expectations. It was the kind of table that just begged for fancy doilies. So I bought a replacement that called only for paper plates.
But it’s been four years now. I’m still not a mahogany table, lace table runner kind of girl, but I’m not in the four-person glass-table stage of my life either. I’ve started to entertain again, my way, and I needed a bigger table. So I ordered a gorgeous, rustic, kind of fancy natural wood table, full of distressed cracks in the wood and a beautiful dentil detail along the edge of the top. And that meant the glass table had to go.
I put a notice on my town’s Yahoo list. Within 20 minutes I’d gotten a call from a mom in town whose daughter has just moved out on her own and who needed a starter table. The glass table would be perfect for her, small enough for apartment living, easy to keep clean. We agreed they’d come on the 1st to pick it up. She and her husband came and carted it away, along with an old corner baker’s rack my ex also left behind.
It is so nice to see the dining room empty, expectant, as if wanting to see what it will be this year. It is no longer the room where I failed to entertain as expected on the mahogany table where I never felt at home. It is no longer the cold place where I rarely ventured, preferring instead to eat with plates on our laps in the living room. It is a blank slate, full of possibilities, just like this new year, just like me.
The new table arrives on Saturday. And I can’t wait.