The small round table sits between us, just in front of the sofa. Once upon a time it might have lived in an elegant Georgian house holding a potted plant, or a graceful vase of flowers. Today it sits incongruously in our small home, loved but uncared for, with a crack across the surface veneer, the polish has long since lost its shine and there are white marks where one of us put down a hot cup without thinking.
An almost empty bottle of wine and two small glasses sit on the blue and yellow sunflower mats you bought home a long time ago, between and around them are the signs of our weekend. My sunglasses lie folded, waiting for me to find a screwdriver small enough to tighten the loose screws, waiting hopefully for the day when the sun finally decides to shine. Beside them is the necklace I discarded yesterday evening when its stones had started to irritate.
There's a small jar of handcream - it's called 'The Weary Gardener's Restoring Hand Cream' which seems about right, I know we both needed it when we got home from the allotment today, with our hands all scratched and dirt under our finger-nails. Just beside it there's a corner of the wrapper from a Fry's Peppermint Cream, my treat from the village shop where we went to buy some wine for tonight's risotto. Lastly, there are two pens, left there on our occasional table for occasional use. One I pulled out from the side of the sofa where it had fallen, the other I've been using to mark the rows on a knitting pattern, as I slowly create the purple socks I've been promising you for months.
When I first knew you, when we worked together in an office in Waterloo, you managed a second-hand furniture service that recovered and repaired unwanted cast-offs and found new homes for them. Somehow, this table went unclaimed, so you rescued it and bought it home and we've had it almost as long as we've been together.
I sometimes think the table's not the only thing you rescued.