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Finding Myself in a White Oak Drawer

By , Islamabad, Pakistan
The drawer has gotten old and it gets stuck when I try to pull it out. I make a mental note
to oil its metal parts as I turn to examine the contents of my long-forgotten chest. Bits and
pieces of my life, that’s what they reveal themselves to be. They have been collected
unconsciously; piling over the years, placed together for no other reason than a
convenience of area and a desire for safe-keeping. My face lights up when I discover a
familiar notebook. Every corner of its pages is scrawled with writings in the shaky script
of a 12-year old. My first novel is brief and probably not a great literary piece yet it is
important to me. This shabby volume is the symbol of who I am and as I turn its
yellowed pages I know with certainty that I am a writer.
Words: there is something magical about how adjectives, nouns and adverbs mesh
together into beautiful sentences, tragic phrases, meaningful works of writing. Words
have the power to describe emotions as intense as the despair of Scarlett O’Hara and
heartbreak as tangible as Heathcliff’s. They can conjure fictional realms as real as the
Wizarding World; salvage tales of bravery and endurance from the ruins of Ancient
Greece.
Whether it be typing till the pale golden first rays start to pour through the gaps between
my dark purple curtains or dragging a pen across the plain white surface of a paper until
the midnight blue ink starts to fade into a cerulean: writing never fails to give me an
extraordinary thrill.
I blow the dust off my fingers and pry under the surface of these possessions. My hand
touches the silky smooth hairs of paintbrushes and glides over the plastic casing of color
pencils. Another part of me is unearthed: I am an artist.
In this scenario, I am on a quest armed with the paintbrush that is my Excalibur drawing
conflict and harmony hand in hand, “brightening the skirts of a long cloud” (Morte
D’Arthur by Lord Alfred Tennyson). I can paint my own Camelot with only this in my
hand, the instrument that can depict a hundred truths.
The small container rattles when I pick it up, the brightly-colored guitar picks inside it
colliding like the particles of a liquid: I am a musician. My ‘golden lyre’ is the cherry red
guitar that proudly stands out against the pale lilac walls of my room. Though I cannot
profess to playing music that would bring tears to Orpheus’s chiseled eyes, my
instrument is certainly one of my most prized possessions. E A D G B E- they refuse to
conform to the laws of the alphabet, a fact that puzzled me when I first began to strum
and pluck its various chords. Now I am completely at peace whenever I pick up my
guitar- writing and playing songs has even become a wonderful cure for the writer’s
block encountered while composing prose.
I find a light green laboratory stencil I haven’t seen in a long time- it displays all the
unique shapes I can identify with scientific equipment. I am now in the white-washed
room that smells vividly of ammonia mingled with fragrant esters. The mysteriously
colorless aqueous ammonia disappears into Copper Sulfate solution in tendrils of wispy
white and deep blue, revealing only flashes of the calm cyan that was. A beautiful
spectacle, is it not? I feel it should be filmed for its seemingly choreographed elegance;
paid tribute to in a poetic description. Science and the Arts were never meant to be
divorced but to be integrated into one being.
I look at the world filtered through my own lens: I observe- the way a writer or an artist
or a scientist would. The intricacies are what fascinate me the most. Life is not in 2D; it is
the complexit ies and diversity that I live for. Black and white is nothing if not grey.
A smile creeps on to my face when I stumble upon a remnant of my childhood. I am
holding in my hand a plastic wand that is a regal shade of purple, at its head is a silver
five-cornered star that glitters when I wave it. Engraved in the font that is trademark
Disney© it proudly proclaims itself to be a “Princess” wand. Once upon a time- to use
the fairytale cliché- my favorite possession, this plastic toy is now an emblem for my
optimism. As a child I always tried to create a Happy Ending no matter how dismal the
situation. Eight years later, I hope to create “Happily Ever Afters” for all those around me
who have not been as fortunate as I have been…
Finally, I am someone who is standing at a crossroads looking ahead at her rather elusive
future. “Life's under no obligation to give us what we expect,” wrote Margaret Mitchelland I don’t want it too. The unexpected strikes with the rushing force of a tidal wave,
eddying with vigor- it is that energy that I want to savor and survive, and finally find
myself on the shore, molded into who I am to be. I dream about a life that is exciting,
nerve-wracking and rewarding in its own way. This thought reverberates through my
mind as I close that oak drawer again, reminded of who I was and who I am, ready to step
on to the next chapter of my life: become the [name hidden for privacy] I was always meant to be.





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