Apr 19
essay challenge: SHELTER
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A Place to Return to

Under the shelter of my roof is a room. This small room is like a living archive of my past. Relics, new and old, are scattered about in a messy whirlwind of culture and affection. The bookshelf is a library, containing dusty memories and voices of the past, as well as some artifacts of my most recent endeavors. But the key feature of this room is not such a boring collection of recollections. Rather, it is my bed. 

My bed has always been like a sort of fortress. As a child, I would imagine that it was my own little island, the only safe-haven in the room that was otherwise filled with lava. I would envision me in my racecar bed, drifting across the dangerous landscape that was the floor. Although my bed and I are far tamer now than we were 10 years ago, I still use my bed for much of the same purposes. When I feel like running away–from my parents, school, or just reality in general–my bed is where I head. And if my bed is the fortress, then my blankets are the walls. There is no such thing as an evil that can penetrate my blankets. They are a protective ward, my guard against the world. And if my blankets serve as my protection, my pillow serves as the court musician, who sings and sings and lulls me to sleep. Altogether, my room is the fortress within an impenetrable world, one in which I can rest in peace without disturbance.

But I’ve come to realize that my “home” is not just a physical place. It is an emotional one. It is the fragrant smell of the restaurants that I pass on my way home from school. It is the caressing touch of the wind as it blows through my apartment complex. It is the elegant sight of the flowers that bow their heads in greeting when I arrive at my house. It is the delightful sound of the voices in my headset that tickle my ear. These are the reassuring signposts that whisper “home” to me, and I know I would be lost without them.

Every day that I wake up, I am faced with the reality that I must leave the protection of my home. I am forced to acknowledge that I am woefully unprepared for all the unpredictabilities that await beyond my door. I take one last look at the signposts that mean so much to me as I anxiously prepare to venture outside of my impenetrable world. And as I gaze at these constants that mean so much to me, I come to a realization: it is precisely because I know I can return to them at night that I have the courage to leave in the morning.

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