food for thought, Short Stories

The Study Table – III

I

II

III

Life moves on. So, I moved on too –

My new destination? A scrap yard. How did I come to be there? Didn’t I tell you that my ex-owner found me too old and too obese for his “renovated” home? He was so sure of my ugliness and my uselessness that he didn’t even put me up on sale – He threw me straight to the Scrap yard. Before I could even analyze my surroundings, I was taken by a roadside barber. So, now I had a new job role. I watched people come and go, some getting shaved, some getting massaged and some getting their hair cut. I remember how happy the mirror placed on me used to be. I despised her. Her happiness made me grow immensely jealous of her. With each passing day, I became more and more morose. Throwing me away like garbage after all those years of my diligent service wasn’t a fair treatment. Couldn’t he just chop me off and use me in a bonfire? I would have been happy with that. Sitting there, by the road, was humiliating! I am the one who needs to be kept sedated with smell of books. I am the one who survives in the presence of poetry or the equations of chemical reactions or trigonometry problems. The lumps of hair accumulating on me were infuriating. The barber scratching the razors on me didn’t make me feel better either. Initially, I had thought that the girl was worst. Then I thought that the scrap yard was the worst. But somehow, I kept descending to worse of worsts! I was tempted to call the barber worst too. But I couldn’t, fearing the ironic implication of that statement. Nevertheless, fate took the unintentional and the unsaid challenge anyway.

The barber abruptly left one day. Initially, it seemed like a dream come true. But in reality, it has been a nightmare. I spend my days and nights alone on the road side. So, I get roasted in the afternoons, wet in the rains and remain immensely dusty all the time. The horns of the cars haunt me, my loneliness haunts me, my uselessness haunts me, my existence haunts me and I stand waiting, waiting for my end to finally make an entrance. The way things are progressing or regressing, I am sure my end isn’t far. But if it is, if it is somehow still far, then the worst haunts me. And here you are – miraculously standing with that unwavering look of admiration in your eyes. I am not flattered. I am amazed. For a moment, I am tempted to forget what I have been through. For a moment, I am tempted to be hopeful. For the first time in a really long time, I am happy. It doesn’t have to last long. I know it won’t. But I am grateful to you for this. I am grateful to you indeed.

“It’s a pity how this table is thrown here. It should be used, it’s so pretty!” I hear the woman’s voice.

“Pretty old, you mean. Pretty broken, you mean. Pretty ugly, you mean.”  Her friend replies and I find myself agreeing with him.

“Pretty apt for our café, I meant.” The woman replies.

“This? For our café? No way!”

“What’s wrong! It matches with the theme. Plus, I will work on it. I will make it pretty presentable and pretty awesome, you will see!”

“I am not so sure…”

The woman comes near me. I shiver at her proximity. I shiver at her touch. It really had been a long time since any human had stood so close to me.

“The table is old, yes, I know. But the wood is still good, see? They don’t make such furniture anymore! Let’s take it to our garage. I will repair it.”

“You do that in a month’s time. Or else I will throw it.”

“You can count on me!” she replies excitedly.

I refuse to believe my ears. Does she really mean it? After this long series of abandonment, did this just happen for real?

Epilogue

I was sure I was going to return to the road again. I didn’t think I was repairable. I was sure that the woman would give up on me soon. Miraculously, she didn’t. I ended up being in her café instead. I couldn’t believe my own transformation. Though I am no longer a study table I admit, but I am always sedated with a stack of books at my corner. Quite often, I am also greeted by the heat of laptops and the mild heat of the hot coffee filtered through the coasters. Sometimes I am greeted by interesting conversations, interesting people scribbling interesting things in their notebooks and I love it.  I love it all. But then amidst all these beautiful chaos and entropy, I keep myself reminding that I am, at the end of the day, just a table.

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