The Colour Red

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The Colour Red

Last night when I sat down to my dinner at my little red table, I looked at it and then I looked at it again.  It seemed it had always been there, with its beautifully turned legs and perfectly round top, painted a deep, vivid red colour, gathering the space about itself so that it was always the centre, always the warm, beating heart of the places I had lived.

I remembered the day I purchased it from a very nice lady in Lake Forest; she was moving, and no longer had a place for it.  I came up to her house, and knocked on the door; she let me in.

“It’s beautiful,” I said, “Thank you for selling it to me.”
“It’s a Baker original,” she said, “I’m just glad that someone who appreciates it, will have it in their house.”
“I will love it forever,” I smiled.  “I promise.”

When I brought it home, I looked at it again.  The mahoghany was faded and dull; it had not been polished or oiled in a long time.  Despite my best efforts, I could not restore it and I became rather frustrated.

“Look,” Bill said, “Why don’t you paint it?”
“It’s a Baker original,” I said to him.  “Are you kidding?”
“I thought it was your table,” he answered.  “Whose house is this, anyway?”
“You’ve got a good point there,” I agreed.  “What colour do you think?”
“You’re the designer,” he said, “But you know how much I love that red colour in our kitchen.”
“Oh, yes,” I said, as the scheme unfolded in my thoughts.  “Yes.  A very deep, vivid red.”

I selected the right colour, not too scarlet and not too vermillion, and then had it made up; it did not quite match the kitchen cabinets but it was very close.  The table was painted and then installed in the sunroom; with blue-and-red curtains and blue armchairs, it made a cozy space to enjoy breakfast each morning, and tea in the afternoon.  At times, I would curl up in one of the chairs and write in my journal or simply sketch upon a piece of scrap paper.

“I love this table,” I said.  “Come, sit with me, and enjoy this.”

Later, when I lived in the high-rise, the table occupied the breakfast room and many friends gathered around it; many festive meals were placed upon its red surface and if I must be honest, many drinks were poured, spilled, exclaimed upon, and then consumed.  Collaborative cooking, we sometimes labelled our efforts, and they were not wasted.

The little red table travelled with me to Michigan and then to Tennessee and then back again to Illinois; each time, it seems, I have used it somewhere, and sat at it for some purpose or another.  It is the perfect size for tea.  I have used it for meals, and for writing, for my breakfast coffee and for wrapping presents.  It is sturdy and well-made; the turned legs and the spindled stretchers have not warped nor have they twisted.  It has been a part of my life for twenty years: longer than my marriage and certainly longer than any place where I have lived.

There are not many things which have remained with me; most of my good furniture is gone.  Much of it has been given away or sold; some of it has been stored.  But this, this little red table, is my beating heart, for it is where I have seated myself in all weathers and in all hours, to restore my body and refresh my soul.

Perhaps it is only an extension of myself, but if it be so, then I am very grateful.

I love you, my little red table.

Thank you for looking at my work.  God bless!

Original photograph by Sanjay R Singhal, RA.  Original writing by Sanjay R Singhal, RA.  Copyright © 2021 Sanjay R Singhal. All rights reserved.

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