A Room

A welcoming room and table.

A welcoming room and table.

We’re all drawn to certain places. If you had the power to get somewhere — anywhere — where would you go right now? For your twist, focus on building a setting description.

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

I am such a pedant and a grammar nazi. My first thought when I read today’s Writing101 assignment was “it’s at the speed of light, not in the speed of light.” (That’s why I find it hard to write and post fast — everything has to be checked and rechecked.)

I think today I’d like to go to my brother’s dining room. It’s the first room at the front of his house and has my sister-in-law’s kitchen right behind it. After that you get the back door.

Calling Michele my “sister-in-law” still seems a little strange, they’ve been married less than two years.

It’s a great room. A big, wood dining table, with extra leaves that can be added to it. I was there for a Thanksgiving not long ago and the table was fully extended and surrounded by people, friends, family and even a couple of semi-strangers who had ended up under Michele’s wing.

Usually the table is half covered with newspapers and magazines. Sometimes a book or two. Often a laptop or two (particularly if I’m visiting). Until it’s dinner time (and sometimes even then) the soft-golden table top is half-covered. The table is surrounded by half a dozen matching dining chairs with wooden, slatted backs. The walls around are hung with family photographs in light coloured wooden frames in light coloured surrounds.

The dog’s nails clack on the light coloured, polished, shiny wooden floor as he comes in and climbs up on one of the two matching, red cotton covered,  two-seater lounges that sit between the table and the kitchen. It’s always the one at ninety degrees to the table, the one usually covered by a cloth (I think it was something like an old flannel sheet or maybe a bedspread). If you’re sitting on that lounge he’ll jump onto the other end and slowly worm his way till his head’s in your lap. He’s some sort of hound and his long, narrow head is perfect for intruding, sneaking, burrowing under your arm.

Michele’s at home. That means she’s almost certainly in the kitchen or perhaps moving between the kitchen and the dining room where her laptop sits while she works from home. Michele’s place, her centre, the kitchen. She’s of Italian extraction, almost tiny yet so full of that energy that seems to fill some Italian women. Michele is such a caring, warm and motherly woman, she can’t help but loving you, warming you, feeding you.

As she moves around the kitchen either the radio will be on NPR or she’ll be listening to an audio book.

Sitting in the dining room I’m close enough to observe, hear and smell all that’s going on in the kitchen. When I’m hungry or need a snack it’s always worthwhile looking in the large, stainless steel fronted fridge. Michele’s leftovers are tastier than most cooks freshly made. There’s also bound to be some nice bread on the stainless steel shelf unit and excellent sandwich fixings in that fridge. Once I’ve got something it’s best if I retreat to the dining room table to eat, taking a plate of food to fill the hole and warm the soul.

Sometimes I’ll stand at the edge of the kitchen while Michele works and just chat. My brother Graeme is not much of a talker, though when he does it’s usually worth listening, he’s an intelligent, well read and perceptive man. Michele makes up for it. She seems to enjoy a bit of a chat, as do I.

That dining room and kitchen on the outskirts of Boston are a great place to be. I’ve only ever been there in Autumn or Winter but no matter how cold the weather the warmth of that home and the two people that share it with friends and family is so welcoming. Even my quiet, undemonstrative brother can’t help but opening his heart and home to his close friends and family.

I love that dining room, that house, those people. If I could I’d cross the ten thousand miles between us far more often.

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