All Around the Kitchen Table
by Erin Liles
Kara loved her kitchen table. It sat in the middle of her kitchen, big and brown and strong.
She loved it even though it had scratches in it from her brother's fork and marker stains from the pictures she drew. It even had big chunks chewed out of one of the legs when her dog thought it was a chew toy.
In the cool bright mornings, she sat in her own chair, waking up with juice and oatmeal.
In the sunny afternoons, when school was over and the day was hers, she ate cookies and drank milk at the kitchen table. She painted, played games, and finished her homework.
In the dusky evenings she sat at the table, the smells of dinner encircling her like a warm blanket.
At the kitchen table, she saw her brother's rosy cheeks. She saw her parent's smiling faces and she felt warm and safe and happy.
But Kara didn't care what it looked like. When her mom complained about how bad the table looked, Kara would say "It's not worn out mom. It's just worn in."
Kara loved it.
Until the afternoon when a terrible thing happened.
She came home from school one day and in the place where her beloved kitchen table usually stood, was something awful. It was made of glass and metal. It did not look strong. It did not look sturdy. It looked like it might fall over in the slightest wind. It looked like it would fall apart as soon as she sat down.
"Mom! Mom!" Kara cried. "Our table is gone and there is something strange in its place!"
"Yes honey, we got a new table." Her mother said, "Isn't it beautiful"
"They're taking the old one away in that truck outside."
Kara cried, "But I don't like this new table!
"Try." Said her mom.
Kara sat down. The table had no scratches from her brother's fork. There were no marker stains from the pictures she drew. And her dog only sniffed at its legs.
She had never eaten oatmeal, or cookies, or dinner at it. Never painted, finished homework, or played games. Never saw the faces of her family sitting around her. She had never done anything at this table.
Tear filled her eyes.
"Hmmm." Said mom. "Maybe there's a way we can keep both tables. Let's go talk to the delivery men and see if they can bring the old one back in."
But when Kara and her mom went outside to get the table back, the delivery truck was driving away.
Kara began to cry.
Dad said, "Let's go get that table!"
Kara and her parents jumped into his truck and set off down the road in search of the vanished delivery truck.
They turned corners, drove down big roads and little roads. They passed shops and schools. Lamp posts and people and cars whizzed by as they sped along.
At last they spotted the truck parked at the furniture shop on 5th street.
Kara's dad jumped out and caught them men just as they were going inside the store. Kara could see him talking to the delivery men and then she saw them shrug their shoulders, open the doors, take out the old table and load it into her dad's truck.
At home, the family decided to put the old table in the living room. Everyday Kara sat at it, refusing to sit at the new one. She watched as her family ate and talked and did work.
Although she could see everyone, it somehow wasn't the same from where she sat and Kara felt lonely. She looked down at the old table and saw its scratches and stains.
Without her family around, the table didn't look worn in anymore, it just looked worn out.
"Maybe the new table isn't so bad," she thought.
Finally, Kara could stand it no longer and decided to join her family at the new table. She looked around at her parents smiling faces. She saw her brothers rosy cheeks. She smelled the warm scent of dinner.
Now the glass looked shiny and the metal felt cool and strong when she touched it.
"You know mom," she said as she sat down, "you're right, this table is beautiful!"
To read more of Erin's work visit her blog, Coloring Outside the Lines.