I turn the slick pages, one after the other, my feet propped on the metal patio chair, chickadees trilling in the white pine. “Ooooh, that’s nice,” I murmur, gazing at pristine dishware, dazzling fabrics, glass hurricanes and smooth pillar candles.
Noah perches next to me on the arm of the chair. Together we admire the lavishly decorated tables displayed across glossy pages. We stop a moment on page 10, pointing to the sumptuous leather chairs and the rustic but chic chandelier.
“Wow. Now that looks just like perfection to me,” I say to Noah. “A gorgeous table set with beautiful dishes, crisp linens and candles, all ready for an evening dinner party. I don’t think it gets much better than that.”
Noah nods solemnly. I turn more pages as he walks inside.
I’m pining, coveting the opulence orchestrated so perfectly on those pages. I want the monogrammed napkins, the mercury glass votives, the plush throws. I want the Pottery Barn stuff and the Pottery Barn life, the seeming ease that comes with high-class living. I’m sick with envy over the fact that people I know actually own a lot of the furnishings and home décor displayed on these pages. I’m envious because I want to own it, too.
The screen door slams shut, and I look up from the magazine.
“Now you have perfection, too,” Noah tells me, stepping carefully over the acorns strewn across the patio. I lean forward as he places my grandmother’s blue Fiestaware dish on the green metal table. A scattering of scarlet, foil-wrapped Dove chocolates sits in the center of the dish. Delicate stems of burnished Autumn Sedum and golden beech leaves are arranged around the candies just so.
Noah sits next to me on a tipping metal chair, striped cushion faded dull from the burning summer sun. We unwrap the foil and let the smooth sweetness melt in our mouths.
I close the Pottery Barn catalog and lay it on the table, tuck my feet beneath the worn cushion and unwrap another chocolate. I smile at the boy next to me as a gust twirls pine needles from the tree-top to the leaf-cluttered lawn. A squirrel rustles his nest high above us, and acorns plunk onto the patio umbrella like raindrops.
It’s not Pottery Barn … but it’s perfection indeed.
Questions for Reflection:
What do you covet? Have you thought about what might be fueling that coveting? Is it envy? Resentment? Anger? Insecurity?
Edited repost from the archives.
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