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I forgot how rosy the sky got here around sunset. The bay area has a beauty of its own, nothing like Maui, but beautiful nonetheless. Riding through neighborhoods on a borrowed bike, I took in the trees, my anticipation for fall welling up in my chest. I’m an island girl at heart, but I do love that crunchy cold weather. I love rainy days that justify my obsession for warm caffeinated beverages and my desire to read or write for hours.
I biked over to a café I used to work for and sat there in a surreal mood, seeing ghosts everywhere. So many conversations and emotions were spilled across this wire table, so many breaks were enjoyed on this bench. Memories flashed:
clothes that permanently smelled of coffee
roses in windshields
needy splenda customers
heartache and anger
hipsters and starving artists
pastry trays assembled before dawn
scalded skin from boiling water
I realized how loaded this area is for me. As excited as I am for a new beginning, five years of life color every corner of this place, and I’m not sure what to do with all that. It’s a matter of identity I think. At Stanford I was a student. After graduating, I was a child-aide then barista. I know how to play those roles here, but I’m not that person anymore. I’ve got a new dream, a new direction, and new memories to imprint on this area.
I’m not sure what the big deal is, why I feel so haunted here. It’s not as if all the memories are bad, though there were some difficult and formative seasons spent in this place. I suppose I’m trying to have a fresh start, but that’s impossible in a place I’ve invested years of my history in. To be honest, I did not like myself the last time I lived here. Aimless and without a rudder, I grasped desperately at anything to make me happy – leading to some poor choices. No regrets, I love where I am today. But I take no pride in the legacy I left here, and that is a humbling realization.
Instead of a new start, I guess this is simply a continuation, and a chance to write a better ending.