I remember sitting at this table for many a family meal, or watching her smoke a Silk cut cigarette and drinking tea from her brown glass mug. Or getting ready for a Sunday roast, piling potatoes which her smooth thick fingers would struggle to grip, slicing them in halves with a large orange handled knife. I would eagerly watch her waiting for when she was ready to assign me the job of stirring the gravy.
The table was old and heavy and lived on, through the years of wear and tear had lots of little dents and scratches, that were often filled with the residue of past meals. I would take great satisfaction in scraping out the dirt from the dents, the scratches were a particular favourite, as the collection would come out in one line if you were careful enough.
She and I would play shops at this table, once I had put on her thick glasses which would slide down my nose, I became the shop keeper, selling her bits of china or fruit from the fruit bowl back to her. She would take great care to teach me the correct math when counting out her change. A keen and shrewd gambler, she never missed a trick and ensured that I never short changed her.
I was three when I was sitting this table, mum had to go and do something which I wasn’t told about. Nan through the day had read her paper and pottered about in the kitchen. After telling her I was bored she gave me left-over hard-boiled eggs to play with. I made a cake with the eggs, piling, mashing and crumbling them with my hands in a beige and brown speckled bowl with a thin brown line around the rim.
I have many memories sat a table with my Nana. Chats, games and dinners. Helping, or more likely hindering until I was old enough to navigate the kitchen myself. Nan and mum then did a flat exchange as the house was too much for her to manage, this way me and brother could have our own rooms. This heavy gold table didn’t go to the flat with her it was too big, she brought a new table, smaller and of dark wood, to match the furniture that she brought for the smaller flat. I am not sure what happened to the gold table, no one seems to remember now.
I would go and clean her house and get her shopping for a fiver in my early teens, polishing the new dark wood table with bee’s wax. Although I never did it good enough. We would very rarely sit at this table, instead nana would sit at the tiny kitchen table only fit for 2, not a family, whilst I put her shopping away and we chatted. She didn’t smoke fags anymore and drank tea very rarely. And the coffee I made her was always too cold.
Soon the table gathered dust. No one ever sat at the dark wood table anymore. Nana didn’t really sit at the tiny kitchen table either, she was most comfortable in the living surrounded by her bits and shrouded by a thrown of pillows and cushions. Instead the table became a landing deck for keys thrown from the gate every time one of us locked her security so that she didn’t have to get up to lock her door when we left. The dark wood table is covered in dents from the keys being thrown through the railings. I finger the dents and scratches as I write this. The table is now in my living room and is sat at every day.