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January 19th, 2020
The old wooden table was packed. Cured meats, sliced, imported cheeses, pickled vegetables and olives, patés and biscuits, and a tall beaker glowing red with Negroni in the afternoon light, all cluttered the view of fine inlayed patterns of wood. Lucilius and a friend chatted, nursing the time with the taste of enough food fit for many meals, sipping the sweet bitter from beaded glasses. It was an eternal afternoon with no plan and no aim to end, where time seemed to leave people alone for once.
Lucilius leaned back, the gorging of food beginning to beg him to stretch out. He carefully nudged a little space into the clutter of the table with his heels, crossing them and relaxed.
It was the first time he took notice of the table, having had a hand to woodworking before, he was impressed with the designs. The interlocking surface of different woods, once seamless and smooth had grown blocky with gaps as the different woods had swelled and shriveled at different rates through the years.
“Beautiful table,” Lucilius remarked.
“Antique,” his friendly host remarked.
“Really? The woodwork is amazing.”
“15th century, England.”
Lucilius jolted upright pulling his feet from the table’s edge.
“What? Are you kidding?”
Lucilius was greeted with a slightly amused look. “No, not at all.”
Lucilius, flustered, stumbled over his own words. “I’m sorry I had my feet up on it, that wasn’t very thoughtful of me.”
“What are you talking about? Put your feet back up, relax, that’s the point.”
“But 15th century? This thing must be worth a fortune, it could be in a museum.”
His argument landed and bounced back a short laugh.
“And what good would it do in a museum? I bought it because I think it’s beautiful and leaving something untouched in a corner or behind some glass is no way to appreciate something beautiful. Just look at this lovely afternoon we’ve been having? All of this delicious food, our conversation. It wouldn’t necessarily be any less enjoyable if perhaps this were a table I’d picked up for ten bucks at a yard sale, but if you have something beautiful like this, why not honor it by using it?”
Lucilius liked the logic but he still didn’t feel at ease.
“I mean it, put your feet back on it. Relax, enjoy. That’s the point.”
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