My eyes fluttered open at the thunder. It wasn’t a loud, startling clap. I always manage to sleep through those, oddly enough. This thunder was gentle, unimposing…like the sky was politely clearing its throat. The rain splattered onto the ground in those big, summertime drops and for a few seconds I took in the scent of the street cooling off.
But at the next cough of thunder, my heart suddenly sped up. The desk. The desk was on the porch.
My husband and our neighbor had hauled it out there a few days earlier. I had meant to cover it up with a tarp but kept forgetting. Now I thought of it sitting there, alone, rejected, its beautiful wood probably getting damaged by an otherwise lovely storm.
The desk came into my possession five years ago. We had just gotten married and were still setting up our house. The desk was going to go into my office-to-be on the second floor. There I would write and pay bills and do most of the managing of my life and our home. It settled into its temporary home in the dining room, because the second floor office was not yet perfect. Its perfection would only be attained once we had graduated, started making more money, and fixing up our house exactly how we planned.
But over the five years that it sat in the dining room, I realized a number of things. We weren’t going to be making the money that we thought we were. The office wasn’t going to look exactly how I’d planned. The desk, with its extreme, antique heft, was not going to make its way upstairs. I needed to adjust my expectations. I needed revise what I viewed as success.
I needed to find a more sensible desk.
The desk needed a new home, but I wasn’t going to give it to just anyone. I wanted it to go to someone who recognized its potential perfection, that the scratches and water ring marks and the drawer that stuck didn’t take away from it was: a beautiful home for hopes and ideas that would fit perfectly into someone else’s life. Just not mine.
The desk was, after all, an artifact from a life that never came to fruition, but that was replaced with this other life that I hadn’t planned for, that would probably always frustrate me with its reluctance to let me manipulate it into a shape in my silly desire to please people who don’t even have to live it. But this life will never fail to awe me when I let it, even if I draft its blueprints, blindfolded, at a smaller desk.
The desk would be fine. Whatever the rain did to it could be fixed. In the morning I would put a tarp on it like I had promised to and would see to finding it a new home. I shuffled onto my side and fell back to sleep.