The Safe Spot

Nikhil Lele

The spot isn’t so safe anymore. It’s been discovered – by my brother – and the territory has been marked. And I was upset I couldn’t have the spot all to myself, so that I didn’t have to listen to the shouting on the TV outside or my brother screaming about Roblox on a FaceTime call with his annoying little friends. The silence from the door, my pictures all over the wall, the shelves filled with my collections of old action figures and legos that I never look at anyway. The silence, the pictures, the collections. All gone.

And it was then I realized my brother wasn’t going to give me the spot back anytime soon, the spot that had brought me peace of mind whenever I was going through a stressful time. There were paintings as beautiful as the stars on a summer night and as colorful as a rainbow, collections of legos that have collected a mountain of dust on the shelves, action figures of Steph Curry and action figures of Hulk. There was the fish named Bubba that was all mine, doing tricks through the holes in the Spongebob house of its tank, somersaulting and flipping in the water. And a cushioned chair with a speaker, too. And as much space as a black hole to put my stuff wherever I wanted to. There were toys as if Toys R Us had a shop in that very room. And everywhere the smell of strawberry scented pencils, squishies, and erasers. Now it just smells like a sweaty 10 year old.

School supplies spilled out of every drawer when you opened them, like they were a chaotic stampede of buffalo. Open the cabinet and a few five dollar bills would fall to the floor, so much money, at least for me.

This, I suppose, is why I liked it so much. Everything in there was mine, and I could put it where I wanted to when I wanted to. This was heaven, a wonderful place to be in the pre-Devil era. The Devil being my brother. But then he came along and ruined it all. He took over half of the desk area. Half of the table. Half of the shelves. Half of the cabinets. Half of the wall space to put his paintings up. His paintings hurt my eyes as much as a drop of lemon juice.

I looked at my chair and its squished cushion sitting in the middle of the room. I looked at the fish tank with my brother’s plant inside of it. I looked at the shelves filled with the dusty action figures and legos.They didn’t seem to be my legos anymore, the legos that would come to life after you built them. And the room that had been a safe spot didn’t seem so safe anymore either.