Lately, my kids have found a new favorite hiding place: the space under our 4-seater dining table. They love lying flat on the chair seats so that I won’t see them. I pretend not to know they’re there though I can clearly hear their incessant giggling. Plus, that dining table’s too small so there’s usually a limb or two sticking out.
(Don’t mind the price tag on that chair. My eldest says that’s to let everyone know that the chair is hers.)
I let the kids be because it brings up a childhood memory that never fails to make me cringe. You see, the six-seater dining table in my parents’ home is a huge affair. I believe it’s made of narra or some other sturdy wood. It’s so sturdy that it has remained intact despite all the years of abuse from three cranky teenage girls.The wood whence that table was crafted from had been standing in my mother’s family’s land for centuries before it was cut off to be turned into furniture. Because my dad is a big man, the chairs were also made to fit his size. It has huge legs too.
A child could get lost under that table for days.
And any unsuspecting adult could fall prey to a child’s curious mind if they weren’t careful.
I’ve probably been kicked off from underneath that table more times than I can count. (I grew up at a time when child abuse was still an alien concept). One time, an uncle kicked me so hard I stayed away from that table for days. Hey, it wasn’t my fault that his toes were so big and ugly. I was just trying to help the guy out by picking his ingrown big toe with a needle.
Sometimes my younger sister and I would play under that table. It was our Narnia, where we were beautiful graceful queens who could charm any cat to do our bidding. Not that our cats ever did.
So one day, during one such adventure, dad came by. He sat on his chair. We wouldn’t have minded because he usually did so at that time of the day. He probably was too preoccupied to notice we were there.
What caught our attention was the fact that he was only wearing a towel with nothing underneath it. The towel was big enough to cover up his private parts. Well, at least it would have covered them if he were standing up. But he was seated. And we were staring straight at it. At first we were shocked. We’ve seen some of our younger male cousins naked so we knew exactly what we were looking at.
And then we started giggling because my sister said it looked like Popeye’s nose with a sunburn. Then I said it looked like a really dark sunburnt eggplant. And we started to outdo each other on analogies. We couldn’t stop giggling even if we wanted to.
Long story short, dad noticed our presence. Nope. He loved us too much too kick us. And I guess he was embarrassed too. He also probably heard our conversation because we were whispering loud enough to wake the dead. So he grabbed a broom and swept us off of our hiding place, one piece of giggling entangled limb after another.
Oh, we had more fun under that table after that incident. I’m not quite sure when we stopped hanging out under that table. I guess life just happened. But the memories are enough.