When I entered high school, I decided that my bedroom would get a fresh start as well. Its first alterations were the obvious ones—bright pastels on the walls, silky, custom-made orange curtains (made with my mother as a compromise for keeping the walls toned down) and shifted furniture. But these are all standard items; the most important addition has proven to be my bookshelf.
I admit most people encounter bookshelves fairly frequently. But everything about this bookshelf, down to the calm and earthy brown—contrasting my unnaturally green wall—to the carefully arranged content, reminds me of something or someone I love. Construction began my first Christmas in high school when I successfully followed my parents' clues to the parts that would become this wonderful structure. The proceeding days were spent building and finishing the shelf with my dad; the nights on my sister's floor because of the paint fumes. As soon as the paint dried I was constantly "renovating": taping to its walls pictures of sunsets, waterfalls, waves, thunderstorms—nature at its best—along with a tessellated math assignment I spent an entire weekend perfecting (my teacher felt bad when she found out although I reassured her I had enjoyed it). The first occupants of this spacious high rise were the fantasy and science fiction books I read in middle school. As I changed and grew, however, the demographics of the incoming denizens shifted. They now form a menagerie ranging from the classics my mother snuck upon the upper shelves—which were reluctantly, then excitedly, adopted and read—to highly specialized visitors from the local library that frequently join their ranks. Balanced throughout are other odds and ends: stone animals from my nature-loving, rock-hound grandfather, soccer medals, a snow globe of the "tour Eiffel" from a rather crowded cigar shop we found while lost in Paris, a Lego rocket from the summer reading project that first made me expand into non-fiction.
Hidden behind the...