I hadn’t thought of this little flash fiction piece for a while and something last night sparked a memory of it. I wrote this piece for Life With Objects. A beautiful little online journal run by my friend Hope Mills Voelkel. Hope gives you a list of objects and you can pick one and write about the memories and feelings we attach to every day objects. My object was a table.
I’ve taken a twenty pound maul to the table. Not an axe, a maul, it has a thick heavy sledge-hammer side used to drive the blade through things. I’m not sure how you’ll take this news but you must agree that a regular axe wouldn’t have worked. We both know how sturdy the damn thing was. Remember that Sunday afternoon when we first moved her into my second floor apartment? We pushed everything from the top into a pile on the floor and you flipped your dress over your head while I worked my belt. You told me the difference between fucking and making love was eye contact. From that day on I saw everything we did together in shades of storm blue.
I smashed half of the surface before thinking to write you this letter. You should have seen the splinters fly Al, like one of those snow globes.
I don’t want this to seem weird or desperate. I’m not trying to get back together. I can’t recollect a good reason for us splitting, but I’m clear it needed to happen. Life’s good; my job pays well, and I’m seeing a nice girl. Usually, I’m pretty happy. This is kind of an odd night. I swear I even hum to myself at times, but then I’ll walk past this table and one of these coffee rings catches my eye. I’m back on your bed in that room you rented from that middle-aged vegan yoga chick. We’re there listening to Elliot Smith by candlelight and although our eyes didn’t meet that night I knew the color. The next morning you made us coffee in a French Press, such an intimate gesture, we laughed and talked at this table.
Don’t blame yourself. I don’t. I guess you could’ve taken it with you, but I could’ve donated it. We both know I’m too selfish to let anyone else have these types of memories. It kills me to smash it to kindling, really does. For some reason it hurts more than when you left.
I thought deep to figure out why I’m doing it. I’ll tell you, but it won’t make as much sense outside my head. Tables have it easy. They know that wherever they are, that’s where they’re supposed to be. People Don’t. Everything we do is ambiguous, every action is uncertain. Love, kiss, talk, smell, sight, sound, hold, caress, fuck, cum, they’re all verbs and nouns. Everything we do or say in a relationship has at least two meanings. No wonder we can’t make it work. It’s not our fault.
So, I can forgive you, I can forgive myself, even us, but I can’t forgive this fucking table. It had one job, to be a table. No one told it to collect all these feelings, no one told it to not let me forget. It had to die.
So there you go. I guess that’s all I had to say.
Don’t worry about the cat