Oh, the things I’ve seen. Salacious whispers over damp pillows, swirling around me and settling over me like the powdery snow falling outside, glittering and shining against the sinful black sky… Sweet nothings that cut as sharp as a knife, the rise and fall of capitalist empires, a fragment of a stolen will and once, the spatter of bleeding dark brown from an anguished groan cut off with a gurgle, a thud, a whispered conversation and a cover-up. The sun rose and fell over New York and I, a quiet insignificant overlooked spectator in my nook, watched, and watched, and watched. I am a marble-topped mahogany table.
Bear with me, patient readers! I shall take you on the journey of a lifetime- my, lifetime- shortly. For now, try to imagine me. Try to imagine my smooth carved black body flowing in shivers of pleasure through a sweating craftsman’s hand in faraway Burma- fingers caressing my rounded edges, chiseling, cutting, hammering me into beauty. Try to imagine my silky white surface, with milky white ripples of the most coveted stone in the world- or is that the diamond? (They used a diamond to shape my edges, I think.) Try to imagine the tinkle of wine glasses from a closed deal in the apartment of a family of scions- glass, bottle and drink on my back. Try to imagine the luxurious carpet I stand on. And there you have it- that poor old marble-topped mahogany table pinned to the glass of your imagination, to be turned over and inspected at leisure. Do you see my four iridescent black legs shimmering in the reflected sunlight? Do you see me smiling as I behold the behind-the-scenes world of chattering Society?
Talk to me, dear reader! I am the perfect listener. I listen, and watch, and feel, but speak no more. I receive the secrets and had you the wit to look, you would find in my glistening blackness a proof here- and here- and there- but you are no Sherlock Holmes, and so I proceed secure in your silence. And so you proceed secure in mine.
My most amazing secret, you ask? Come near me, then- secrets travel far. Secrets are good… But hard to bear: they must be dispensed with at some point- ah, but that is irrelevant. Let us then, dear reader, define ‘amazing’- vulgar colloquiality finds no place here- ‘amazing’ may thus say spell-binding, or awe-inspiring. Is it always a good thing? Here, let us veer away from the dictionary, learned one! Awe and guilt and disgust and covetousness go hand in hand in my four-legged soul. It started with a bang and laughter- then red dress and loose brown mane flowed past, with a white suit and pale blue shirt and pale blue eyes and warm brown smile- ah, the luscious sweetness of prolonging the moment! Air shivering with heat haze and then the moans and gasps and oh! her uneven blackened brown skin rubbing on my cold top and his raw vein pumping, hands slick with sweat- hours, hours of rocking the cradle and the womb and the hard musculature of his thigh snapped- it was new and old, this rush of sensation. Old-watched from numerous times on the couch, the carpet, the slice of vantage into the verandah three hundred and thirty feet over Manhattan but new-felt intensity, almost painful in its newness. If I could have wept, dear reader, that would have been the moment. It was the nearest I ever came to a spiritual sensation in my frozen black four-legged soul. The tantrics say that body and soul have no bounds in spiritual tenderness. It was the nearest I shall ever get to the smiling Mithuna of the stone woman on the carved temples in the book on my back.
My most amazing experience? Oh, that’s easy. A recent birthday party- it was the girl’s, I think- no, the woman’s- all brown mane and brown eyes, and chocolate and espresso cake dripping down on me. Lots of laughter and music and pranks- I think they even had a pillow fight (not naked)- I was amazed. What scheme was this? What hushed cocktail party with whispered sweet nothings to be stabbed in the spine with? What madness infected her that she wrote a cheque for some kid’s charity (Wish Come True, Make it True, something, nothing) (guilt for the Evans child, she said) (Evans being a former business partner who disappeared from my room before I could gather any more from the heated argument)? Sometimes, they do these things, these inexplicable creatures- like the time I watched her drop to her knees in the middle of my room on the soft white carpet, begging for forgiveness, makeup dripping down her swollen cheeks- something about “Lord, I have sinned… incoherent sobs… for the best!… but the path to Hell…” and then there was silence and someone broke down the door (shrill sound of ambulances three-thirty feet below). Human beings are difficult to understand… so wayward… surely heaven waits for you…
One regret, dear reader! Surely you must have felt something like this some time too? A wistfulness, a longing for something more- I remember the snuffling of a little puppy’s muzzle on my left leg once- the whiskery feel of it as it gambolled round and round my legs- I remember the touch of a little child’s soft hand and round green glassy eyes and my blackness lifted into them- is that what innocence feels like? Why am I so starved for it?
But if I could talk, what would I say? That I have experienced human baseness at its most depraved? Human sensations at their most intense? Human life at its craziest? Human redemption at its most painful? Humanity, when it’s most alive? Would I talk about the silent witness of human failure or the silent admirer of human love? What would I say?
What would I say, I, a black mahogany marble-topped table standing silent witness to unfolding dreams?
Would you still be able to sleep as peacefully as you do now, Mistress? Would you still never turn over in your grave?
If you knew that I could talk?