My Safe-Haven This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Peoria, AZ
At the end of the dimly lit hallway patiently awaits a pure white door. On it protrudes a sparkling, light blue “H,” indicating to whom the oasis beyond belongs. Underneath this blue emblem of hope sits a four-by-six picture of Lilo from the animated Disney film “Lilo & Stitch” in which she’s lying on the floor by a red, used record player. Beside the consoling source of music is a scattered mess of records with a quote from the movie underneath Lilo, saying “Leave me alone to die,” a fair warning to those who try to disturb the tranquility beyond the tall, white barrier. A large, spherical, glittering bell hanging from a clean white ribbon that has been tied on the door handle chimes a sweet welcome to me as I push down the cool smooth lever and slowly swing the door open.

A burst of warm sunlight fills my eyes and swells in my chest as I enter my personal bright blue paradise. On the wall opposite the door hangs a large framed poster with the Chinese characters of the different elements that was a present some few years ago covered only with a few small tears and wrinkles on the shiny, almost perfect surface. Beneath the poster sits a trouble-free white desk with a drawer to the left filled to the top with visibly used playing cards, pictures, notes passed between my friends and me, and other odd doo-dads that I have collected over the years. I run my hand along the worn spines of my beloved and favorite books – all tales of fantasy and adventure – and
am tempted to pick one up and enjoy the journey they take me on. Then, my eye is caught by several memoirs left to me by my closest friends who live many miles away. I gingerly pick up a doll caricature of myself sent to me from my soul-sister, reminding me of the funny comics we would draw of our made-up adventures. Along the base of the books and framed collage of pictures of my best friends and me sits a snow globe in which a smiling ballerina in a pink leotard and tutu is poised with on toes perfectly pointed, never tiring, never moving, even when the whimsical music chimes softly to which she is inclined to dance.

Though the books call to me to embark in the journey hidden beneath their covers, and the memoirs bring out happy memories of days past, I turn and sit in my large lime-green papasan chair rubbing my hands on the ever-smooth and cushiony fabric. The fabric was as soft and cool as if I were sitting enfolded in a large bed of lush green grass, which still smells of cotton candy perfume, thanks to my sister who had sprayed it on years prior. To the left of where I comfortably sit confidently stands my crisp, white closets doors which are adorned in a large poster of one of my favorite tales of hope and adventure: Narnia. My bed lies a few feet before the closet, a bright, blithe, multi-colored comforter on top, covered in stripes, polka dots, and checkers in a blend that makes it appealing to the eye, reminding me of the brightly colored candy Starbursts. Three multicolored polka dotted pillows are stacked neatly on top with two bright blue pillows as fluffy and light-hearted as a poodle covering them, though all but two pillows will be removed to make more room on the inviting bed when night comes and only one will actually be used. The covers remain neatly smoothed and placed with care precise perfection, as if one single wrinkle could ruin the alluring appearance.

To the left of my bed and its bright orange nightstand is a clean, brand new, white bookshelf with every other square cubby filled with either a lime green or pink fabric drawer that is easily pulled out by the flimsy but durable handle attached to the front. In the open cubbies, many books and school textbooks stand straight or slanted with slightly worn spines. In the fabric drawers are some of my most used possessions: my painting sets, my colored pencils and markers, some reference books, several sketchbooks filled from cover to cover, and an unfinished story whose end comes slowly. The flat top of the waist-high book shelf is covered with my many stuffed animals organized in a manner that makes them appear to be calling to me, still smooth and downy from the gentle and delicate care received through many years.
I close my eyes a moment and enjoy the soft breeze my ceiling fan cheerfully dances across my face gently tussling my hair. I love the continuous, quiet, twirling sound of the fan that is so peaceful, it is almost hypnotic. As the fan beats and the sun warms and comforts me I begin to grow weary. I smile to myself unconsciously in content happiness as a lavender dream catcher twirls overhead, keeping dreams of fear far from me.

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