Story by J. Robert Lennon

For many years a large table stood in the center of our dining room, blocking the most direct path from the living room to the kitchen and necessitating the development of an angled walking route that, over time, came to be visible as an area of wear in the dining-room rug. Recently we discarded the old rug and, since our children have grown and moved away and we now eat our meals in the kitchen, transferred our large table into storage. The dining room has been turned into a study, with bookshelves lining the walls and a narrow desk facing the front window.

Despite these changes, we find it nearly impossible to take the newly created direct path through the room, and continue to walk around the edge as if the table were still there. When occasionally one of us must enter the forbidden space, either to sweep the floor or to pick up a dropped item, we find that we wince in discomfort, as if anticipating a painful crash into the missing table. 

Source: Pieces for the Left Hand: 100 Anecdotes by J. Robert Lennon. Available at

Photo: “Worn Rug” by Deidre Woolard