We run by Goodwill to unload Jill’s donation. Among the donations, I spot a perfect drop-leaf table for my new unfurnished room. I can put it against the wall so it will take up little space, but then pull it out to use as a dining table when family visits. I’ve got to have it. “Jill, get me that table.”
“Mom, I have a patient who works for Goodwill. They don’t do it that way. You can’t buy the table before it’s processed.” I tell her to at least ask the guy, but she takes her receipt from him and drives away.
“I can’t believe you didn’t ask.”
“Mom, we don’t even know if it will stay at that store. It might need to go to a distribution center.”
“Well it might not.”
Jill drives me back to Goodwill, pulls into a parking space, and says she’ll wait for me. I walk past the 6 cars dropping off donations and go straight to the source.
“Sir, I’d really like to get that table.”
“Okay, I’ll tell the manager. He’ll price it and put it on the floor.”
“So, if I come back in 30 minutes I can walk in the store and buy it?”
I skip back to the car (not really, I can’t skip) with a big smile. “I got it.”
We drive to my house to get my car so we can fit the table.
We return to Goodwill. “I can’t believe this,” I say walking into the store. “This is perfect. It’s meant to be.”
We see the table. Walking toward the table I feel my space being invaded. Why is this old man so close to me? Suddenly four of us are circled around the table – me, Jill, an old man, and an old woman. The man says, “I think we should check the leaves to make sure they stay up.”
I watch as he puts the leaves up. It’s perfect.
“Oh, this is my table. It was in the donation pile outside. I had the guy mark it and bring it in so I could buy it.”
He ignores me. “They work,” he tells us. His woman is glad they work, “Sometimes they don’t work.”
“Do you want this table?” I ask.
“No, it’s yours. You take it,” the tiny white haired woman says. He adds, “We were only checking to see if it works because she needs something to hold her oxygen.”
They both smile. I smile back. Darn, they’re so nice. I notice her little pocket book hanging on her arm and his way too big for him jacket hanging on his bony shoulders. They look toward another table, but it’s too big. It won’t fit.
“So, if I don’t buy this table then you’ll buy the table?”
“Oh yes, we’d buy the table. She lives on the 3rd floor and I live on the second. Retirement homes are small. I had to get a twin bed or I’d not be able to move in that place.”
“Oh, so if I walk away you’re going to buy the table?”
“We don’t want to take your table.”
“It’s not mine. I can’t buy that table now. God would smack me. So, if I come back here later the table will be gone because you are going to buy it, right?”
“If we don’t buy it will you lose your religion?” he asks.
“No, I’m not going to lose my religion.”
“Okay, we’re buying the table.”
I walk away, but I can’t leave the store. Maybe they won’t buy it. I hang out by the register. I watch them pay for the table. We leave.
“Jill, I can barely function right now. I also bought salt and pepper shakers at Ikea and got home and they were bent. I can’t even use them.”
“Mom, you might be focusing a little too much on material things.”
The only reason that table was on the floor was because I had it put on the floor. The only reason I didn’t get the table before the old couple appeared was because I wasted the perfect amount of time at home before heading back to the store. The table was theirs all along. It was meant to be…