What the heart has once owned and had, it will never lose.
Love is eternal.
Love endures time.
It takes hold of your heart and doesn’t let go—ever.
This table, our table, my table, the back of your hand table, each groove, every stain, knick, and dash, even the pen gouges, is our table. We found it in a barn that subbed for an artist’s gallery-home, where passerbyers, after hours of being lost on the country roads in desperation pulled into the long gravel drive and stepped out of their car only to realize they stumbled upon a wonderland. And so it was for us.
She was standing at the barn door, her blue-black hair flying recklessly in the evening wind, while pulling at the door to shut out the world.
“Are we too late?” I asked.
Her smile was conflicted.
“Come on Chuck, they’re closed. I think our hotel is down the motorway a few miles,” I said.
Her Oxford plumy accent shook me in my clogs, “We are indeed closed, but come in for a glass of Claret, sit a spell. We’ve had boring foot traffic this entire day and welcome the possibility you promise.”
I couldn’t help myself and laughed. “We’ve been driving in circles all day going left when it should have been right and fighting with teeth and claws, and now it’s gotten to snorting and grunting. I assure you we are anything but promise.”
“That is exactly what we need. Come in quickly because I see headlights coming down the road.”
Chuck and I exchanged looks, and walked quickly towards the barn not knowing why or what we hoped to find, but in the moment we passed through the barn door the anger that had built in our chests at all the wrong turns dissipated the instant the souls of our feet stepped onto the waxed cement barn floor. We froze and gaped openly at the beauty of the handmade wood furnishings. She pulled the door shut instantly closing out the world.
“Phew! We made it.” She bolted the door, walked to the middle of the room, and called to a giant of a man standing over a table. “Edward, we have company,” she turned to us and whispered. “Quickly tell me your names and follow my lead.”
We did as she bade.
“Lila and Chuck are old friends from California. Lila and I shared a dorm room my second year. Pour the wine and show them the new table.”
That was all he needed to know. He turned, nodded, and then poured from a corked bottle. We chatted while we drank and enjoyed a crusty baguette and a half brick of sharp Irish cheddar while Journey played overhead.
Hours passed. The sun set signaling it was time for us to go, but neither one of us wanted to leave.
“Come on, Lila, we don’t want to over stay our welcome,” Chuck puffed in disappointment as he stood.
“No! Dinner?” Please stay for the night. I’ll call Mattie and let her know you’ll be staying with us tonight.” She knew the manager of the hotel where we were staying and took care of the reservation.
Chuck slipped his hand around mine and squeezed. It was indeed a night of promise, the sort that comes along without warning and swirls around until even the atheist reconsiders faith and celestial beings.
We spent the night at a simple farmhouse table made of pine, eating, drinking, and singing. We took turns selecting music from Edward’s vast collection, and sometimes when the music called to us, we danced around the table. At dawn, still sipping wine, we watched the sun come up over the fields before finally climbing the stairs to our bedrooms.
A month later the table we bought from Edward and his mistress, arrived by ferry. We spent have spent years loving around that table, cooking and inviting possibility into our home, our lives, and our hearts.