The journey continues…


Part II: This isn’t going to work

In Part I, I introduced you to the Carpenter who broke my heart, and left my apartment with his real-wood dining-room table. But he didn’t want to break up. So how was that going to work? All I knew is that I needed a new table. But a new relationship …?

I ordered a new dining-room table from Sears (which oddly carried the name of a previous boyfriend/failed relationship). Carpenter went to pick up the dining-room table for me. Delivered it on an autumn night where I hid, retreating into the woods.

There was a problem with the table. He called me at my hiding place: “Sylvie, the table is missing its base so I can’t put it together, and anyways—the table-top is dented. Sorry.”

I felt desperate. How can I return to the city now and go into the apartment with him gone?!! A too-big void all around!! A large space left behind with no table, and no one to eat my Vector cereal with, man!

My futile attempts at love with a man who said from the start that he wasn’t “established,” and my futile attempts at replacing something all-too conveniently, converged on the phone, and I uttered final words in frustration and resignation:

“You know what? This isn’t going to work. Not the table. Not us.”

Then those words that stain your life, and someone else’s:

“We’re done. It’s over.”

Sometimes making love work has a lot to do with timing. Where you are in your life. Where you think you need to be. Where you want to go. Where he was, he didn’t like. Where we wanted to get to, far off. Was I in the picture? Sure.

People come with knicks and flaws. But sometimes we’re just too damned damaged and dysfunctional to be upright, and to stand sturdy for others to lean on us.

Go back to where I’m from

In the end, Sears came to collect their stupid table. My ex was a short guy, which I loved, and one of the strongest men I’ve ever met – physically. Yet, it took two big, fat, large men from Sears to cart out the table, and all the chairs. It made me cry thinking he had done all that himself, for me, only to finish the night with my phone call that I was not going to wait for him in this life.

My ex is like the very unique oak board that miraculously turned up in the piles of hemlock that NaCoille Studio used for my table. Popped into my life outta nowhere. Physically strong, and stands out for the beauty of all its knots, knicks and blemishes. In life, like love, we walk all kinds of planks

Breaking up with someone by whom you already feel dumped leaves a huge big black mark. Out damn spot! But with NaCoille Studio needing to talk stains for my new table, I realized that some stains bring out the natural markings in wood, our own selves. And with care, the right stain can ‘set’ our scars so they don’t grow deeper.

Protecting us from the elements. Beautifying us both for years to come for when someone else runs their gorgeous hands upon us, marveling at our markings, our grooves and ridges and the story of where we came from and how we became so wonderful, and too bloody right — sturdy.


So where are we at now? What did the Table teach me about this loss, and love and life? Read on…


You can read about my first meeting with NaCoille Studio’s Matthew Wallace here.

If you take a look above at the “underside” image, do you see how the colouring is way off? Matthew explains to me that when you plane a plank, he has no idea what colours will emerge.

With some wood he once got from Queen’s Quay in Toronto, he was awed by brilliant hues of purples and greens emerging from the wood as he planed. Bit of an adventure, really. Unique, indeed. One-of-a-kind to be sure.

For our second meeting to discuss my new threshing-floor dining room table, it’s a cold, rainy day and perfect for being indoors talking about finishes. Matthew tells me about how he’s fixed up the kinks by planing off the bad shit to reveal the beauty underneath. Time, soon, to seal it up, finish it off…