A red table cloth sits on my dining room table. This cloth is not special, nor is it expensive or lavish, hand made, or ephemeral. In fact, it wasn’t purchased or created with the intent of being a tablecloth. Instead, it has become a draped piece of fabric thrown alongside a slab of wood where we occasionally eat. By default, this cloth rests atop a table -a table cloth. It is red.
Its red is more like a deep burgundy, with spiraled etchings and shapes that glitter atop the matte fabric. It’s black and silvers and golds intertwine and create circles that have a lower-cased- “e” inside.
The cloth holds food.
My father always taught me that he had been disillusioned with time.
Grandmother taught me through her absence, that she had always been here, and never been gone.
Time is a lie.
What it seemed to be, is what it has always been, and always will be; allow me to explain the cliche as it becomes so clear, so clear, so clear.
For the past few days, I had the same recurring meal. Ziti. I made two trays of Ziti for Jaz’s birthday party. And in less than ten minutes, each was devoured. We should have taken a picture. Both were made with eggplant that I slow cooked for three hours. Before then, I shredded cheese, washed dishes, chopped and grated and mortar and pestled some garlic (ok, Tristan Mortar and Pestled, but I oversaw); it was an extravagant feast. The hours it took to prepare made the five minutes it took for each person to devour their pasta and salad serving all the more exciting and disappointing. Some folks who came late, didn’t even get a taste.
Monday night, I made another tray. This time, to spoil myself, I went to Whole Foods and purchased organic and torture free products, and excitedly ran home to stew for 1.5 hours half an organic eggplant, grate more cheese, and use what was left of the garlic.
This cloth will always hold food.
At my table, on Thursday night, when I had my last slice (before cheese and beef had gotten the best of me), I decorated my burgundy-red table cloth. In ritual, I lit a tea candle, poured a small glass of Merlot, ground fresh pepper flakes onto my lemon-squeezed and olive-oiled salad and began to pray.
Now, I should mention that this night, I had come home disappointed. My altered plans led me to feel un-love-ed. I was having a conversation with myself, negotiating whether to claim a feeling of sadness or loneliness or heartbreak.
In the stillness, the candle’s flame flickered a word, and I repeated it.
Was all that I could pray.
“Embody love here”, I prayed.
“May love enter this body” I prayed.
“Love is this meal” I prayed.
“May it be so.”
I opened my eyes. Before me, was a burgundy-red tablecloth, magnified, candle-lit, and it stared back at me. Look up, at the banner of this blog, your eyes are mine. Here I was, I had begun, and ended, and walked the circle of love, feeling complete.
Once I sat at the table, which, had become something of an alter space, I realized that it was this moment that I had been expecting. It was this time. It had always been this time. At this very table cloth with food on top. How wonderful that it had become an emblem for me, even as I write this here, it stares back at me.
Each bite was food that I ate, am eating, and will eat.
Each moment, I will manifest the oneness that I am seeking.
At the table there is love. And in love, there is no measurement of time.
Instead there is absolution, oneness, self.
Time means we must be before, during, and after.
In love, there is completion, nothing more or less, nothing here or there, but all things, concurrently.
Have you felt this? this truth? this absence of time?
What will be your reminder?