Upon moving out of my parents’ house I had already purchased everything I needed from the places I’d worked while attending college. It was neatly packed and labeled, with the exception of my newest and final acquisition: a particularly beautiful coffee table with a wrought iron base and cocoa bark inlay. I was moving across town – no short distance as I live in one of the largest cities in the U.S. – and thus my dad was intent on making one trip. What this meant was that the trailer was loaded up Beverly Hillbillies-style, with my wicker settee (read: couch) hanging from the side by ropes and the last piece added to the mess being that pretty table I mentioned. This was placed on top of all the rest - top up. I immediately tell my dad that it’s going to catch wind resistance and come free, but he’s an old Cuban papa and an ironworker to boot and thus as stubborn as the day is long.
“Fine, fine,” I say, relenting because I was already tired and had so much left to do once everything was unloaded. He reassured me that it was secure. I didn’t believe him. I was right.
I tell him that we need to drive on the access road rather than the freeway, because with such a load he shouldn’t drive too fast. He agrees and sets out with me driving behind in my own car along with a friend who’d come to assist. Naturally, when we strike upon the first on ramp to the freeway he turns onto the freeway despite agreeing to the contrary a minute earlier, and off we go.
We actually get a good three-fourths of the way there without incident, much to my surprise. Suddenly however as I checked my mirrors to observe the rest of the traffic around us I hear my friend scream. I look up in time to see my coffee table slipping – slipping – freefalling. It hits the pavement between the trailer and my car. The metal base comes off and bounces across the other lanes of traffic. The wooden top splinters at the site of impact with the fragments peppering my vehicle, and then in fantastically cinematic fashion it flips to a horizontal position and heads straight for my windshield.
All this time my friend is screaming bloody murder, but I actually have a bit of history dodging things flying at my car (including a fishtailing semi that suffered a blowout, a bale of hay, etc) and so I dodge like a ninja, having already established where the other cars are just prior. The table lands flat in the road, and thankfully no one is close to us, or it.
My friend is basically hyperventilating in the seat next to me, but I do what is most natural to me at the time: I laugh. A lot. “This’ll make a great story for Monday!” I exclaim, grabbing my phone and calling my dad. “Father Dearest?” I say sweetly, still laughing.
“Did we lose somethin’?” My grin widens.
“Yes Father, my coffee table.”
“Oh, I’m sorry mija. I’ll pull over. Don’t worry, I’ll buy you a new one.”
I never receive a new coffee table, but a legend is born.