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San Francisco city from Twin Peaks
Diana Laura Arana

it starts as a quiet feeling, a warmth in your chest bright as the crackle of the embers in the bonfire your friends dragged you to

fluffy white clouds overhead as you lie in the park, 

watching people, dogs and babies that stroll past, 

idly wondering who they are and where they’re going

hazy summer afternoons so warm you almost can’t bear it but just as you’re about to curse the sun overhead it acquiesces and begins its slow descent, taking with it the brilliant heat and blinding light you’re always yearning for

it’s the way the city glows rose gold in the last rays of summer sun 

first, the skyscrapers in the distance, 

the roofs flashing before the glow flows down the window, 

windows practically shining white

before the glow creeps through the city, lazy golden light stretching to the ocean where it meets the shimmering waves of the deepest blue, but, just for these fifteen minutes, gleam gold

crisp autumn mornings 

with rain on the sidewalk and rain sleeting down, 

sharp and cold and bitter but at least you can feel something 

it’s the petrichor, 

earthy and new as you step out of your apartment, 

the streets slick with the oil from the first rain of the year,

the roar of the cars speeding past (because, try as they might, california drivers cannot drive in the rain)

chatter in your favorite cafe as you scald your tongue on your latte and instead turn your attention to the perfectly baked morning bun 

it’s the buzz of a tattoo gun, 

inky blood over punctured skin, 

the exchange of long earned hours for a new piece of art gracing the canvas you so appreciate 

late night facetime calls with your friends knowing you made the right decision

stumbling home with your roommates,

cheeks flushed from the cold and something else, 

stolen glass in your tote bag, balloon in your hand, head spinning from the beer you just drank,

pit stops in the undercaf

and a few hundred blurry photos in your camera roll

it’s the clack of mahjong tiles,

repeating the rules a hundred times,

and the rush of adrenaline as you all wait for the very same one 

the wind in my hair as i drive across the bridge with all four of my windows down and my radio up and 65 on my speedometer

winding country roads with six different types of cows and green hills rolling as far as the eye can see

a horizon that seems to go on forever streaked with cirrus in shades of pink and orange and yellow 

quiet evenings at home,

the tv on in the background, the fan on in the kitchen, the christmas lights shining on the windowpane

it all comes back to me 

as i lie on the earth, grass beneath my fingers and dirt beneath my nails, 

stars overhead, 

the most stubborn and bright and shining for all they’re worth against the yellow lights of the city,

just bright enough to be seen but still too faint 

grateful to be alive

I am a senior at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Biology and minoring in Biochemistry. I am from Monterey, California where you can find me kayaking, surfing, or baking!
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