How Cracks in the Wooden Table Hold Truths

February 19, 2024

The oak table holds centuries of memories. Each memory is embedded inside of the cracks that are seven inches deep, smooth on the inside, with pieces of wood fraying on the outside. As the wood frays, the legs of the table teeter, but they do not crack under the immense pressure. They refuse to succumb to the urge to collapse. 

The surface of the table observes the plain, white walls that are smooth. The white paint covers the decayed paint from the 18th century, from when a headstrong woman, Lily Clark, kept her mouth shut to impress society. But her strength never faltered; while she tended to the vase with purple tulips, she contemplated the steps of mathematical problems. Physics problems were her anchor, her escape from social norms, from the dull reality of being constrained to staring at the foam of white soap on intricately decorated dishes and pressing the mop against the wooden floor of her home, which she shared with her husband, James Clark.

Black ink would flow out of her feather pen as she deciphered complex equations. She would spend hours, her head hanging above this wooden table, fascinated by how math problems in the same category can all get different results. She connected the various results to how life is constantly changing, but the constant variable for upper middle-class women of her time consisted of the same end result of becoming superior as a housewife. This end result caused her anguish, as she was desperate to solve math problems for train companies. She could almost feel the cold surface of the metal trains against her palms, as the image of the train is painted inside of her mind: The metal is silver and shiny, and the platform is light brown. The blue sky with the white puffy clouds above make her feel like the world is soft and cushiony, as if she can float above the train in the clouds. At the image, pride filled her chest, but the sight of the white foam from the soap forced her to escape the world of designing trains and return to the bubbling of the soap, which reflected her tight face—the contorted false image of a content, upper middle-class woman.

The deep cracks in the table feel like they’re carved deeper so they can symbolize Lily’s need to build trains, so she can escape oppression. She delved into a novel of women innovators only to realize that the novel was a fictitious story she detailed in her mind. 

As the deep holes inside this table reflect on these memories of Lily, Lily’s granddaughter named Kayla sets down her purple math textbook covered in math problems, solved from beginning to end. Kayla twists her long, straight red hair and fixes her blue eyes on the math problem in front of her. Solving this math problem becomes a validation of her womanhood—to break barriers in the deepest of society’s cracks and put together what is broken. This is how she carries on the mental strength and powerful intelligence of Lily; she solves the math problems in the textbook sitting above the deep cracks. They fill them in together, she and Lily. Together, they can solve every crack in society, one step at a time.

Rachael Weiser is a talented, passionate, and motivated writer. She is also a curious, insightful, caring, compassionate, observant, and creative person. Rachael is very eager and excited to work for a company as a writer after she graduates college!



Featured image by Tim Mossholder.