Giving Things Away
The hallway was stuffed with my old and beloved TV cabinet; we could barely open the front door. Our sleek new console had taken its place in the living room, and the cabinet was biding its time as it blocked our way to the kitchen.
I remember lugging the cabinet up the stairs of my Avenue D walk-up back in 2004. After hours of searching ABC Carpet & Home for a piece of furniture I could actually afford, I had happened upon it as the store was about to close. A sales associate helped me cram it into the back of my Volkswagen Beetle.
The cabinet moved with me from downtown to uptown a few times, picking up scratches, stains, and dings along the way. It first bolstered an old tube TV that weighed about a thousand pounds. I held out for so long. All the tube TVs left for dead on the Manhattan streets was too much for me to take.
I finally caved in 2010 and bought a flat screen; my old tube met its fate in front of my building on 187th Street. I tried not to look after it rained before it got hauled away.
These days, my new place in the small village is bright and sunny. All of my vintagey furniture and old stuff looks entirely out of place–dark and dingy. Over the past two years, I’ve swapped what was left of my Manhattan life for fresh, simple, and new items. Clean lines, sleek styles, some even borderline modern. Sadly, Covid makes it so I no longer fish gems out of the garbage.
So when no one responded to my for sale ad on Craig’s List, I decided to list my beloved cabinet for free. Within an hour, I received two lovely notes. The first was from a woman who said she loved the piece and it matched her decor perfectly. She also offered to pay even though I said it was free. I told her no charge, and we had a nice conversation and set up a time to meet. Twenty minutes later, I received the next note from a man who also complimented the cabinet and discussed his decor. When I wrote back to say that it was already taken, he thanked me for responding and even added a smile face.
We passed off the cabinet this morning. I was a little sad and a little happy.
Ultimately, it was the narratives I loved: the stories that came along with my used furniture, my garbage finds, the dents, dings, and scratches.
Today was a nice ending.
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