Updated: Nov 22
By Kristy Holditch
What if our nightstands held our biggest secrets? Not secrets in the sense that they’re deep and dark, though maybe. Secrets, in the sense that they hold a hidden key, a what’s-the-magic-password, an enigmatic passageway into the things we keep both tucked away and close within arm’s reach. Perhaps the lamps, alarm clocks, chewed-up charging chords, and water rings on their surface are a mere facade, to what they hold still and huddled at their core––safe from dust, outsiders, and prying eyes.
I wonder how many lie bear, hollow in the things they hold dear. Though I find myself far more curious about the miscellany housed in all the rest.
Old love letters and diaries, expired passports and unfinished travel journals; a bowl of change that rattles and clinks every time a drawer slides or a door swings. Maybe a dead spider or two, legs dried and scrunched like a flower, a heap of tangled headphones, a ring your grandmother used to wear, a lone battery that should have been thrown away months ago, years even. I wonder how many harbor crystals, Bibles, handcuffs, or those sunglasses you thought you lost; lotion bottles, Kleenex, a positive pregnancy test, a negative one, or an array of book stacks that only ever seem to grow bigger. In one of the corners might sit a collection of TV remotes that date back to prehistoric times alongside that bag of mushrooms some Deadhead gifted you at a concert one summer––at least that’s what you tell your partner, even though they very well know you got them from your dentist. In other corners might lean greeting cards you can’t bring yourself to throw away, with scribbles from birthdays and celebrations passed, life chapters that seem so long ago they hardly feel like yours.
In the space between all this might seem insignificant. To the naked or ignorant eye, maybe they’re just odds and ends with no real home, glorified junk drawers in serious need of Marie Kondo’s magic touch, a future episode of Hoarders. But if you take a closer look, you might see them for what they really are: museums of us, artifacts with no clear timeline. Within its walls are layers that store our nuances, our past, present, and future at an almost cellular level, sheltering the real truths: our half-buried secrets hiding in plain sight, our outlets for creativity, joy, shame, release; the regrets we tell ourselves are anything but, our missed chances, our dreams, our one days.
Like a snake that sheds its skin, maybe we keep the remnants just in case we should need a glimpse into what was, a thing to measure how far we’ve come while our minds busy themselves with what may be and what never will.
Or maybe it’s just a nightstand.