A year before he passed away, my grandfather gave me his desk. It’s old, solid and sturdy, like he was – stubborn to the point that it refuses to fit through certain doors. It’s a darker brown, with carvings crawling up the ornate legs that twist and turn at the bottom. The drawers, of which there are many, have gold handles that often fall off. But what makes the desk most special are the hidden spots, many of which my grandfather never knew about. If you take the drawer on the right out, there’s a smaller drawer pressed at the back, hidden from view. I can picture pirates hiding precious pearls in the small compartment. The columns that stand in the back actually open at the top, fitting nothing more than a handful of pencils.
I pile everything atop the desk, knowing it won’t buckle under the pressure. A teal and gold mask from Venice, an old fold-out Kodak camera taken from a model apartment long ago. An Ikea clock that never once worked, shells glued together to make a turtle. Papers. Files. Photos. Memos.
Despite the mess, it’s where I feel like myself. It didn’t take long to connect with the desk; we just meshed well, despite its heaviness and my desire to be light. My writings are now part of the markings, laying deep inside the wood. For my grandfather, it was a place to pay bills; for me it’s my place to be me.