This story is one of the February Writing Challenge entries chosen to be a featured story.
The soft sound of a piano. The smell of fresh brewed coffee mixed with the strong scent of oil paints. The feeling of strings under your fingers. The sight of colors, of shapes, landscapes, imaginative figures. And, most importantly, the knowledge that everything has been created by you. That the magic that surrounds you is your work and your work alone.
Many years ago, that magic was everyone’s reality. Art and music surrounded the world like a curtain, all of feelings expressed through them. It was something that kept us warm, kept us going, and made sure we wouldn’t turn into cold, emotionless robots. Made sure we wouldn’t turn into what we are right now. But this is our reality.
I live in a world in which all this magic, art, music, theatre, is considered useless. They don’t accept it anymore. Life should be about survival, about science, development, efficiency, they say. And apparently, music doesn’t make us efficient. Neither does art. And things that don’t make us efficient had to be banned. But what happens to the ones that lived from their art? The ones that could breathe better because they knew they had the power to create magic with their own two hands? What happens to the magician when you steal his magic? They either accept their fate and stop their magic or they keep doing it, but in secret. Either way, the world isn’t the same.
In my apartment, there isn’t much to see for people who come to visit me. White walls, cold furniture, minimalistic. No pictures, no personal belongings, at least not out in the open. But if you would walk to the end of my cold, white bedroom and would open my cold, white closet and shove away my impersonal, monotone clothes, you might find a small, hidden door. And if you would find the key to that door, shoved into a pillowcase at the bottom of my drawer, and you would open that door, you would find it. My place. The one where I hid away my magic.
My room looks like something you never see anymore in our world. Not like a museum or a concert house, but just like a mix of everything I love. My walls are filled with art. Oil paintings, drawings, prints, everything I could get my hands on. Colors and shapes fill up almost every single centimeter of it, so much that you can barely see the white in between. The room is never quiet. There is always music. I soundproofed it, and the old, dusty record player almost never stops. The floor is covered in paper and color splashes of paint, making it impossible to actually walk safely.
And still, this is where I dance. Where I sing, I draw, I play, I am. This is me. These walls and papers represent a part of my identity that I have to keep hidden away every second of every day. These four walls are the only place where I can truly be my full self. When the music syncs up with my heartbeat and the paintbrush is held steadily in my hand, I finally feel alive.
If you were to find that room, you would find me. Not the me I show everyone, but the me just I know. But even if you wanted to stay, you couldn’t. After a certain amount of time, you would have to leave. You would have to close and lock the door to my magical room and hide the key again. You would have to leave and live your normal, monotone life, without the magic. Because that’s what I do. That’s what we all do. This room is just my little secret, the part of me that I will always have to hide. And even though it contains the truth about me, about who I really am, I will always have to hide it. Because even though it’s the truth, its till forbidden.