This Desk

A sealed, large, manila envelope sits on the desk in front of me. I built this desk with my own hands. It’s nothing fancy, but it is sturdy. Durable. So far, I have moved it into five different homes. Aside from a few dents, scratches and coffee stains, it is in excellent condition. I would set a pricey piece of art on it and feel only a mild anxiety. The desk is not painted. I prefer a nice stain when working with wood. Paint is for houses and decoration. This desk is not decorated. It is birch wood, sanded velvety smooth, tastefully stained, but not protected. It is a necessity, not a collection.

The over-sized envelope will remain sealed, until I forget the contents. The envelope contains things never meant to be contained. Like an urn is a container, containing things never meant to be contained. Human remains. There are no human remains in this envelope. Proof of humanity, yes, and love… but no decomposing flesh. I wish the contents would decompose before my mind begins to forget. This might take a while.

I really do like this desk. It was built with my own hands and for my own use, although I have shared it with others since its conception. I suppose I should feel pretty good about that – the fact that others have found use in this object of my own creation. Others have needed this desk. That ought to make me feel pretty good, I agree. However, I am greedy with few things, some of those things being my space and my desk. My desk is my space.

There is a birthday card in that container that is like an urn in front of me on this desk.

This was the first desk I ever built, and no other like it exists. I can’t imagine envy, but I felt such pride when it was completed.

There is a letter in that manila envelope, dated and creased to fit neatly into a smaller envelope made specifically for such things as letters.

I told my father all about this desk while I was building it from the plans in my head. I said I would take a picture of it for him, but I never did. My father was a carpenter. He would have appreciated the simplicity in the design.

There is a Father’s Day card in that sealed container on my desk.

There is also an essay somewhere in that envelope, somewhere between the birthday card and the Father’s Day card I bought early so as not to forget. I wish I could forget. He knew about the essay, about its existence, but he didn’t know what it was about. I told him I would send it to him, and two years later I finally set out to do just that. The essay accompanies the letter that is dated and creased to fit neatly into another container much smaller than the large manila envelope sitting on my desk. Sealed. Until I begin to forget.

The much smaller container that holds the letter and the essay boldly displays two addresses, his and mine at the time (his at the time), as well as a stamp. Daring.

The essay, Jesus Was a Carpenter, was written on this desk. The letter, “Dad…” was written on this desk. The same hand that dated the letter hammered the nails into this desk.

A sealed, large, manila envelope sits on the desk in front of me. I wish I could sand the contents down velvety smooth, tastefully stained, but this time protected from my memory. I wish I could hammer it all away.

The container that is like an urn holds a clipped obituary and a death certificate. I did not write the eulogy on this desk, because I could not bring myself to write it at all. So I made it up on the spot, without this desk. Now that I think about it, a desk without any drawers is more like a table. What a stupid desk.

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