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from "A history of tables," by Kirstin Vander Giessen-Reitsma, catapult magazine, 12 September 2008

A photo is floating around our attic somewhere, probably in a Converse shoebox. In it, I am just barely fifteen years old, a sophomore in high school, wearing an oversized green sweatshirt, jeans, and perhaps the shoes that came in the box that now holds the photo. The setting is my school library. I am sitting at a table where I appear to be studying, but across from me is Rob, another fifteen-year-old sophomore. The look I’m giving the yearbook photographer is an exaggeration of innocence. Though our books are open, pens in hand, Rob has just finished giving me directions to his house for the party he plans to have while his parents are out of town.

At twenty-eight years old, nearly eight years in to my marriage to Rob, I can see this sly study hall meeting around a library table as a fulcrum on which much of my life story turns. I can also see tables—those ubiquitous pieces of furniture that invite gathering by their nature—as a key image for exploring where I’ve been and where I may be going.