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Destination: Somewhere This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Whenpeople are asked to describe a significant place, a natural reaction isto recall family trips or to explore an atlas of the world, pagingthrough the countries.

Unfortunately, this doesn't always work,and people realize what they are looking for may be part of theireveryday lives. Traveling does not mean you must take a plane to aforeign country or even simply drive to the supermarket. My place ofsignificance is one I return to no matter where I go. Whether fromacross the world or down the stairs, I travel to my kitchentable.

"I saw it and thought it was a beautiful table,"remarked my grandmother, "and I outbid another guy who wantedit!" Discovered at a garage sale in New Mexico, the old table, withits nicks and scratches, was masterfully redone by my grandfather. Hechanged what was a weathered boardgame table into what would be hisnewlywed daughter's kitchen table. As the movers unloaded the giganticpiece my parents realized it would never leave the love of our family.The table has traveled from San Diego to Utah, to San Francisco toMinneapolis and finally to Baltimore.

Now, I race home fromschool, pausing only for the occasional brake light. I weave in and outof traffic; no speed is fast enough to get me home quickly enough tosalvage what little of the day I have left. Not only do I arrive at mykitchen table from Interstate 795, but also from every other place Ihave traveled. I come into my familiar home and slam my suitcases downnext to its stocky, polished legs. I lay my unread mail and list ofthings to do on top of the worn panels of wood. I walk past it, allowingmy bare, sun-scorched feet to pound on the hardwood floor, catching mytoes occasionally on the edge of the rug that lies underneath.

Whether it is to bring dishes from upstairs or to bring nothing but anopen mind and a willingness to listen, my kitchen table remains thefocal point of my family life. Its purpose is to support the endlessconversations between my parents and me.

In 20 years, when Ilook back at my adolescence, I may not remember the vacation inMinnesota, but I will remember nervously running my fingers along thecrease that runs endlessly around the table when I was at a loss forwords. I will remember how I jumped out of the shower to smell the steamof chocolate chip cookies rise to the last inch of my room. I willremember the flowers that sat on the table as a sign of spring and thetreacherous piles of work that lay waiting there.

But more thanany other moment, I will remember glancing to my left and seeing my dadtry to stretch the minutes and make his scarce family time last longer.I will remember glancing to my right and seeing my mom gentlyconcentrate on every word my sister and I say. I will remember lookingacross the table and feeling as if I were gazing into a mirror, exceptinstead of my reflection, I saw my sister.

The table will stay inmy memories and my family's history, and will al-ways remain in a housethat includes our family name. As any place should be, the kitchen tableis not an important place in my mind for what it is, but for the facesand voices that fill each seat.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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