We have a very small kitchen. Everything Joe does he does extremely.
We decided to buy a bench that was made out of teak. It was one of those gnarled raw wood pieces of furniture. Part furniture, part objet d’art. It looked almost like an antler on its right side and then it swooped down into a small seat, which was more cool looking than it was comfortable. When we purchased it, it was unfinished wood. Joe brought it to the shop and put a beautiful stain and finish on it until it was butter smooth and much more expensive looking than what we had paid for it. We brought it home in the van. Joe and I lifted it up 4 flights of stairs to our apartment, resting very frequently. Including one rest stop outside of the building before we even brought it in the door in which Joe invited our neighbor who was outside smoking a cigarette with her little husband, to sit on it. She touched it with her hands and made what I assume, by the smile on her face, complimentary remarks in her raspy voiced spanish.
When we finally got it in the apartment door, we rested in the kitchen in front of the stove. By this time it was midnight, I was tired and feeling weak from the heavy lifting. Then we proceeded to bring it into the living room. There was one snag. It would not fit through our hallway from the kitchen to the living room. We shifted and strategized, but to no avail. So there it sat. In our kitchen for over a month, in front of the stove. Each time I used the stove I had to move the bench and it made just the sound that evokes the downstairs neighbor to ask what the hell is going on upstairs.
Tonight I came home and it was gone. Joe had taken it back to the shop, we have decided that its just not for us. I felt sad for the bench that went through many hoops, but not hallways, to be in our home and I felt sad for us and for all the work Joe put into it and for my hopeful former self who bought it with stars in her eyes convinced that this was going to be the thing that pulled the room together, exotic, natural, dramatic. Now that its gone, my kitchen feels huge.
As I walked down the tiny hallway from the kitchen all the way to the back bedroom this evening, I thought how I missed the bench and how I should blog about it. And when I arrived in the bedroom what did I find, but a capacious piece of furniture that Joe made in which his eyes were bigger than his apartment. This one is a display cabinet that holds all of his karate gear as if it were hung up at the Hard Rock Cafe like Joey Ramone’s jacket or something.