This is what life is like now

Laura Nicole Diamond
3 min readNov 4, 2022

A desk’s drawers give clues to who we are, and who we might become.

a desk with a laptop, green spiral notebook, and pouch of glass beads
Our desks hold the answers (photo: Laura Diamond)

This is what life is like now.

The sound of my husband watching television migrates from the living room, through the door, and into the room where I am writing. I turn on white noise to block out the voices on the news channel. Digital nature sounds wash over the commentary by Whatshisname, you know, the journalist from Watergate, whose name will come to me any second.

This is what life is like now.

A digitized monkey (or is it a bird?) interrupts my thoughts, so I lower the volume as I sit at this desk we bought at the vintage store for Maria to do her homework and keep her things. Now that she lives on her own, it is a space for me.

I wonder where this desk lived before we brought it home. Who rested their arms on its surface and what work did they accomplish before it was emptied and restored? If this desk were marooned on a desert island and found in a hundred years, what would its contents say about who we were?

In the top left drawer, Maria’s high school student ID and an old pair of glasses hang out with sticky notes of forgotten ideas scrawled in my handwriting. Hairbands, hers and mine. A pouch of glass totems I made a few years back, with drawings and words of inspiration like, “I have everything I need.” “Write and share the love!” “50 is fun.” Ha.

Bob Woodward! Phew. This is what life is like now.

Beneath that drawer, a deeper one holds my things — filled spiral notebooks, a box of blank cards in case the need arises. Happy Birthday. Thinking of You. With Sympathy. A burnt candle in a small glass jar. A new candle, unlit.

On the opposite side of the desk, like the other half of a brain, a drawer with closed legal files for people I once spent hours with, interviewing them about the violence that made them leave behind everything they knew and owned and touched — all the things that told their stories until the moment they ran to seek refuge. Folders with research on the basics of asylum law as I learned it. This drawer is heavier, and harder to slide open.

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