We bought our bedside tables over fifteen years ago from a wonderfully perfumed, beautifully decorated American store called Pottery Barn. Made of smooth, polished, dark wood atop black, wrought-iron legs, they fitted in perfectly with our old-fashioned, jumble sale, mix and match look.
But then mine disappeared, and hasn’t been seen since.
It’s there I know but I just can’t see it anymore. Well, I can see its chafing rusty legs, the grey and brown spots brought on by the sea salt in one of our other-lifetime homes. But the wood has gone and will probably never be uncovered again, not as long as I am around in any case.
Almost seventy books are piled in unsteady, wobbling piles. Around twenty more are on the basement shelf along with old newspapers, photos and audio cassettes. At least five pairs of glasses hide themselves in ugly black and silver tattered cases, the oldest pairs totally useless now.
Many of the books have been read, others are patiently waiting to be picked up, hugged and loved for a while before I callously discard them like used handkerchieves. Twenty-nine newcomers were added last week after a mad spree at the English library book sale. The oldies are even lower down the edifice and are undoubtedly raging at the heavy, young gatecrashers now nearest the entrance to my ReadFest.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Hubby would love me to tidy them all away, placing them somewhere ‘normal’, like on a bookshelf. I have always refused.
This bedside table is mine to do with as I wish. I love its high-rise style, urging us back to the good old days. I love its crazy messiness, reminiscent of my own overcrowded brain. And I love its sweet shop sense of wonder allowing me to ponder and dream of what’s in the next big jar of a book.
Who knows how long it will take me to eat my way through them all? Who knows how many will be added in the future? Who knows whether the table will be able to hold any more before it collapses under the weight of all these old trees?
All I know is that, once on there, not many of them ever leave.
Book hell for them. Book heaven for me!