The Hallway table
Task: two people argue about a thing or a place
A hall table
As Raydon anticipated, as soon as he finished the crossword and turned to the Sudoku Carol had something to say. Crosswords were intellectual tasks. Not to be interrupted. Not so the Sudoku.
Raydon tried not to mind and even lifted his head slightly hoping to forestall an argument about whether he never listened. It was almost true, but never to be admitted.
‘The table in the hall’.
‘Uhuh. What of it?’ He briefly searched his mind for something he had left there which should have been left somewhere else like……..But Carol’s reply made him lift his eyes and lower his paper.
‘I thought I might give it to Tracey and Philip…. now they've got a house and look like an item, as they…..’
‘What do you mean...give?’
‘Well it was OK in the hall at Rydal Rd, but this hall is shorter and I keep banging…. ‘
Raydon hardly knew how to begin his objections to this.
‘But can't we just move it somewhere? ‘
‘I just thought it would be a nice gesture. I know I didn't like Philip at first but….’
‘I don't want to give it away! It's about the only thing I have left of mother's… ‘
Carol's stomach lurched. Raydon didn't like being interrupted or corrected.
‘But Ray it wasn't your mother's table -it was the one Dad bought for me! ‘
‘Carol, that table is mine. You gave your table to Peggy years ago. ‘
‘Why ever should I do that? ‘
‘I think it was a peace offering, or perhaps a thank-you that at last someone agreed to marry her.’
‘Oh Ray I know you never liked my sister’
‘Well she was such a fusser. In the Hyacinth Bucket mode.’
‘She was just a bit over particular. But I can't imagine giving her the table. After all Dad bought it for me, and he bought her an armchair that….’
Raydon surprised even himself by banging his fist on the chair arm and shouting, ‘Whatever you say or think now, you gave her that table.’
‘And’ he lowered his voice, ‘The table in the hall is mine.’
‘For goodness, Ray, what will the neighbours think? They've got her mother…..’
‘Well perhaps they'd like to come and join in. Just think Carol. It was after Christmas and we said we'd go to your sister and her best beloved Bob before New Year. You said we should take them something and mentioned your Dad's table saying she’d always liked it.’
‘That I didn’t…’
Raydon's voice was loud and cross. ‘For goodness sake, Carol, you must have a head like a sieve .Why don't we ring Bob? Or have a séance and ask Peggy.’
‘Now you’re being offensive. And anyway how are you so sure it's your table? You couldn't remember going to Sidmouth until I showed you that photo of you on…..’
‘My table is old. It belonged to mother's friend who died in 1956.She gave it to me in 1960.Yours was new and from the start you wanted mine out of the way, but when you gave yours to Peggy I brought it down to the hall. Now do you remember??’
Suddenly Carol saw herself back in Rydal Road. Ray was struggling down the stairs with a table which he put with an air of triumph in a new space in the hall.
Raydon could see Carol thinking and braced himself to fight a new aspect of the quarrel. Arguments didn't usually get as far as shouting.
Carol said, ‘Well I'll get something else for Tracey.’