I’ve had the same dresser since I was born. Its form is nothing particularly special or unique: sturdy, large, utilitarian. Intensely familiar, I see it daily: as I lay in bed waking up, in a flurry of motion as I vacuum underneath it or quickly put laundry away, as I set down my glass of water before bed. It was my dad’s dresser first, and there was a second, identical dresser that his brother used. My sister used that same dresser. We shared a room, and the two dressers stood side by side, holding a permanent place in my memories of childhood. I’ve continued to use mine, moved it countless times throughout college and after, feeling an intimate attachment to this object and the memories it holds.
Home is a space that has profound physical and emotional effect on us; memory and emotion become tangled together. We fill this domestic space with familiar objects that speak to us of intimacy, comfort, and memories of our past. Negotiating this space daily, we know exactly where to turn for each surface, light switch, or coat hook. We have a specific viewpoint of our own space: the ceiling from our bed, a collection of family photos seen from our favorite chair, a small table by the front door, passed by quickly as we arrive home and toss down our keys. With the passing of time, our memories become distorted as they filter through our mind; some details fade and others are solidified -- vivid and unbreakable.
At some point the other dresser disappeared -- someone is using it somewhere.