A plethora of light, family members groggily converse as they've been in the hospital for more hours than can be counted. But you're finally born, born at the dinner table.
People shuffle in and out of the house, congratulating mom and leaving gifts. You wail in unfamiliar arms from the blindness of being newly born… or is it because you're hungry? Wow, it's the first time you're hungry, hungry at the dinner table.
People stay a while and try their hardest to make minor conversation. Anything to feed their undeniable need for attention, right? Complimenting the new dinner table, and how it really is a ‘nice accent piece’ to the house. The intricate mahogany legs are freshly carved, a piece of art that appears as if it was made to be written about. You're home, home at the dinner table.
A few years go by, look at you! You're beginning elementary school, and your bike has shed its training wheels. You're growing into yourself, knees still healing up from your adventures with friends. You gnaw on your pencil in perplexity. Why didn't you memorize your 12 times tables? But see, you finally get to do homework, homework on the dinner table.
Countless family dinners, innocent chatter, stories of “times before you were born”, holidays with one another including meals filled with love. The dinner table smiles at your youthful joy. It's trying to preserve your innocence for just a few years more. It easily hides the cracks, and scratches, and its leg wobbly from the weight of secrets, but the dinner table isn't capable of everything. Your family feels together, together at the dinner table.
As you approach middle school you try your best to help the table, hide its wobbly leg. It's done so much for you...why can't you fix it up better? The pressure of growing up is straining you, and you give up and leave the dinner table behind. Home is no longer a desirable place to be in. You fill your summers and weekends to get away, away from the dinner table. Parents arguing and your room is now your place of comfort. The facade is cracking, your mother's smile turns gilded. Family members tell you conflicting things about one another. Who can I really trust, trust at this dinner table?
You wonder ‘what happened?’ as the family once together has now wilted in front of you, the thorns threatening to poke you if you got too close. What happened? What happened to the dinner table?
Dominique is a 15 year old aspiring journalist from New York. She enjoys writing poetry, listening to her record player, and decorating her room in her free time. She is involved in her school's literary magazine, Imagine, and has been published in Young Writers USA.