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You’re there, you’re the babysitter, but the kids are in bed and the parents aren’t home yet.  No music, because what if the kids wake up and need you, what if they have nightmares and you can’t hear them, what if what if what if?

So you sit.  It’s peaceful and almost scary, night hovering like Eliot’s yellow fog at the doors and windows, light making you [feel] safe on your side of the glass.  Get up and lock the back door; you’ll feel better, keeping out the night.  The kids are quiet.

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1:30am. Refrigerator humming. Bare feet swishing on hardwood floor. Cabinet creaking open. Glass clinking against glasses. Refrigerator door chhrrrrrrrrrshhing open (bending slightly at the knees to grab the milk). Funny weak-plastic-with-liquid thudmp on the tablecloth-covered counter, refrigerator door chhhhhhhshwhomping closed. Crisp t(h)iK as the fresh cap comes off the jug – and

glugshhhhhhhhhhh

thudmp.

[. . . what does happy sound like?]

I.  Love.  Coffee tables.

Coffee tables, like the square one sitting two feet away from me, almost always have a history with them.  Look at your coffee table.  What memories do you have associated with it?

The coffee table at my parent’s house isn’t just a place for my dad to put coffee – it’s where my mom and I eat lunch, where I sit to hang out with my friends, where guests throw their feet while they watch movies.  Little kids have sat at this table to draw pictures and make puppets and put beads on string.  Life has happened here, joyful life.

What about there, at yours?

And what do you do with the coffee table, now that you’re thinking about it?

Appreciate it.  Appreciate the time you spilled Chinese food on the tabletop.  The time your friend’s little sister used the edge of the table to help herself walk.  The time you printed out three different variations of your class schedule and spread them out across the once-glossy woodgrain.  Appreciate the life that has happened there.