LETTER TEN

AN INVOCATION FOR BEGINNINGS

Mon, January 17, My Kitchen

 

DEAR FRIEND,

I miss Toronto already.

It’s just past 4pm on Monday. I’m sitting at my kitchen table and there’s snow outside. New York snow, nothing to Toronto snow. My house is quiet. People are sleeping. I’ve just made myself a cup of coffee. I’m really looking forward to taking a nap as soon as this is written. So far I’m really kicking the New Year off with a bang.

Today has been a pretty solid day. I waxed my kitchen table. I realize that sounds like a not at all fun thing to do, and I’ll grant you that it’s an acquired pleasure, but I sure do love it! I know we’ve joked before about one day moving out of the city and opening a little autobody shop together (even though I have never actually been joking, and I hope that you were serious too). And while I think I would absolutely love that, I know I would also be perfectly content spending my days fixing up furniture.

It is a ragged thing, my kitchen table. If you look at it on from an angle, you can see all the scratches and the little dull spots where we, and who knows how many people before we moved in, have set down too-hot coffee cups and rubbed away the varnish with our greasy hands. It’s not exactly a nice table, but it’s big and it’s old, and I love it.

Beyond the basics in a little toolbox, I don’t really have any proper tools with me here in New York. What my table needs is to be stripped down and resanded—the legs are wobbly as fuck, so they really ought to be fixed up too (a little glue and a couple of angle brackets on the underside would do it). Then, it’d need a few coats of stain, a good one—something real dark brown—and a few dozen coats of varnish. That'd make it nice. Give me three days and the right tools and I could make this a proud table again.

Unfortunately all I’ve got right now is a tub of wood conditioner, and a bottle of this brown stuff that is supposed to cover up scratches.

The wood conditioner is just oil and beeswax, and it’s decent enough. I found it under the sink shortly after I moved in, and since then polishing the table and the counters has become a bit of a ritual for me, especially when I have stuff that I should be do. (Sorry for not writing sooner, by the way.)

Tomorrow school starts again, so today seemed like a good day to work on my kitchen table. I’ll be sitting here most nights for the next several months, (reading, drinking, dinner, work, cards, etc.), and I'd like to make it nice, you know? 

Because of school and the New Year I’ve been thinking about beginnings, as you do in January. I can’t remember if I asked you already, but are you a New Year’s resolution kind of guy? If I had to guess I’d say no, but I’d also say that you probably do set some goals for yourself only you don’t tell anyone. I can’t see you sitting with the family and discussing about how you want to get fit and read more in 2016.

In general I’m not a resolution person. But, I do appreciate the New Year as a fresh start. It’s a clean break. The counter has been set back to zero. It’s a good time to evaluate and to think forward. I’ve got myself all the usual resolutions: get real fit, drink less, watch less TV, go out more, write the next Great American Novel, stop only using Tinder at 3:00am when I should be sleeping. Since Christmas I've also been thinking about what I want—and I’m talking on a more macro level—this year to be like.

Last year was… a lot. A lot happened. I don’t know if it was a really great year or a really, really terrible year. I’m inclined to say terrible, but there were so many good times too. I don’t know. Whichever it was, it was definitely a bit of huge goddamn mess. I will say this though, I do feel like I found a voice last year. Maybe it was because I got into school, or maybe it’s just cause I’ve been writing more—writing you—but I feel like I’ve started to figure out how to talk. No, not talk. That’s the wrong word. Because I obviously already knew how to do that. But more like how to talk for me. How to say things. I'm not sure if this is making any sense, but I hope you know what I mean.

If last year was about finding a voice, then I want this year to be about using it. I have things to say, probably. Let this be the year of great foolish shouting and sloppy conversationing.

How does that sound?

I’ll talk to you soon, Friend!

It was really nice to see you when I was home.

H.D.