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By Michael Cook
I was once described in a catalogue as a sumptuous edition to any home. Yet by today’s society I would be called cuddly or someone who was in need of a workout. I think of myself as the Marilyn Monroe of my era. Pleasing to the eye and having curves in all the right places. Now because of my age people refer to me as an antique, yet I feel as beautiful today as when I was conceived 240 years ago.
Yes, I have been touched up a little but one must expect it at my age, I suppose.
As I stand in this dingy room smeared in a coating of dust, I look around and see some old friends just hanging around. Noir Pastiche by Gauguin and a night scene by Modigliani. I remember once we shared the same room.
It’s a big day tomorrow for me as I look down at the sticker lot 23. I am excited at the thought of a new home and new stories to tell from the mahogany tree that gave me this incredible life. As I while away these hours, I would like if I may to tell you a little of my life. I hope you find it interesting.
Well, let’s start with the only love of my life, Sasha Ribery; he made me who I am today. He was a struggling cabinet maker from the small town of San Julliene, a few miles from Avignon. He was good but good was not good enough for him, he wanted to be renowned throughout France as the best cabinet maker to the aristocracy. His wife, Morell, was happy with their way of life but Sasha wanted to work with the finest hardwoods that came from the Far East.
He heard that a shipment of mahogany was soon to arrive in Marseille from Burma. Sasha and Morell argued with each other till they were blue in the face, but eventually Morell relented. They used all their savings to the last sou to buy a consignment from the importer.
I remember well the journey through Provence, it was July and the tall sun flowers swayed and bowed in the summer breeze. It was almost as though they were nodding in approval of my arrival. I was so young and full of sap I dreamt throughout the journey what my fate might be. When I arrived Sasha had enlisted some friends to lay me down on blocks spread two feet apart and two feet off the ground.
“Just here will do, part shade part sun.”
For reasons unknown to me, I needed to be seasoned as not to warp or dry out too quickly. I guess he knew what he was talking about. I sun bathed till mid September waiting, waiting to be created into an object of beauty. I used to love it when he caressed me on a Friday eve, turning me so I would be at my best. I still recall as though it were yesterday, Sasha carrying me into the barn. I was a little apprehensive, well quite petrified really, when I saw the circular saw and chisels.
The first cut, I knew I was in good hands and as the days turned into weeks I could see myself maturing into beautiful shapes and sizes. My cabriolet legs were elegant and curved, not spindly or fat but perfectly proportioned to the rest of my body. With intricate precision and detail I was ready to be glued together.
Oh, Sacre Bleau!
The smell of the horse glue was atrocious but it soon dissipated, and I was ready for the piece de resistance, the Chalac and then the bees wax. This for me was the best, each stroke and coat I soaked in more till my legs became silky stockings and my body was pure reflection.
Finally Sasha dressed me in a claret leather covering on the top so the writing paper would not slip around. Silver ink wells on either side give me an air of sophistication. He had loved me and I loved Sasha but deep down I knew I was not for him for after all I was just an object of desire, made to serve a purpose.
My, oh my, those were heady days. Ummmmm, let me catch my breath. Oh yes, where was I? Sasha and I never did get to say good bye and it wasn’t long before I was sold to Monsieur Laudoc of Paris, another man with a keen eye for beauty. I spent my days staring out of the shop window watching wealthy Parisian’s walk by in their finery and lace parasols and street thieves picking pockets. It was a rainy day I recall and street life was becoming tedious so I decided on a nap. The tinkle of the shop bell woke me and then a hand caressed me, it did not feel right.
“Monsieur Laudoc I will take this exquisite piece, it inspires me.”
“Marquis du Sade always a pleasure to see you. I will have it packaged and delivered right away.”
Ahhh, the Marquis du Sade, now there’s a story to tell. Maybe if you buy me tomorrow I will kiss and tell, but for now I need my beauty sleep. After all I am 240 years old. Au revoir.