Driving home, Sam had her second misgiving. How was she ever going to get the box into the house? That problem loomed even larger as she looked at the front walk that ascended in three tiers from the street. Second guessing yourself isn't going help. Think. You can't lift the box, so what's the alternative?
She eased the box out of her trunk and grabbed the edges to slide it onto the sidewalk, dropping it at the last minute as her hands slipped. Dragging it up the walk seemed like the only option, but she had to figure out a better way to hang on to it. Cut holes in the cardboard so she could slip her hands in? No. There would still be too much weight for her to try to hold up, and the cardboard could tear. She had to find a way to keep most of the weight close to the ground.
I know. Sam went back to the trunk and pulled out an old blanket. She opened it on the sidewalk, then lifted one end of the box and laid it across the width of the blanket near the top, folding the rest of the fabric back over the box. There was just enough of the blanket left for her to roll the two ends together as a handle. Aha! Who needs a dolly when they've got ingenuity?
Easing her burden through the doorway into the library, Sam felt incredibly proud. She had faced the mountain, and the mountain had not defeated her.
She opened the box and assembled the pieces of the table on the floor. Then she went in search of Margaret's tool box. If she remembered correctly, it was in a cabinet in the laundry room.
Back in the library, Sam sat cross-legged on the floor and read the assembly directions. This'll be a piece of cake compared to getting the damn thing in here.
Later, she nursed a scraped knuckle, happy that that was all she had suffered for her efforts. A sound in the doorway startled her and she turned to see her daughter leaning against the frame.
"What're you doing?" Melissa asked, running her fingers through disheveled hair.
"Was I making too much noise?"
"No. I didn't hear a thing." Melissa moved into the room to get a better view of the table. "It was just time to get up."
"Nice isn't it?" Sam knelt beside the tool box and started putting the wrenches and screwdrivers away, finding an odd sense of pleasure in the solidness of the tools in her hand and the clank of metal against metal as she dropped them in.
"What's the table for?" Melissa asked.
Sam shot a quick look at her daughter. Could she really be that obtuse? Or had she just conveniently blocked any thought of her mother's life different from what it used to be? "It's for my work." Sam kept her voice carefully neutral.
"Oh. Right." The young woman walked around the table, trailing her fingers across the smooth, white Formica. "Guess it's just hard for me to think of you as working."
Sam leaned back against her heels and sighed.
Melissa stopped at the corner of the table and looked over, her bottom lip clutched in her teeth.
She looked so forlorn; Sam feared her heart would burst with the pain of it all. "This isn't what I wanted for any of us," she said, softly.