San Francisco’s Game


My alarm blared by my ears, and I hit the snooze button. It went off again; I hit the snooze. The continuous battle between time and sleep left me dreading myself for setting such an early time to leave. Frantically getting ready, I receive a text saying he’s here. Already worried about the drive over, I began stressing over awkward silences and overall branching out of my shell to get through an entire day with this person I barely knew. The drive to San Francisco wasn’t as bad as I overthought, and he even explained the current and past circumstances with his ex-girlfriend. From what I knew and what I was hearing, all I was thinking was that he didn’t deserve to be treated in the way she lead on. And the fact that he trusted me with all this showed he’s a passionate person, convincing me that maybe I don’t have to put my walls all the way up around him. We eventually get to the college, and none of it felt real. We ventured around the campus, walking into almost every building, absorbing all that I can and trying to make it a reality that I will be living within these buildings. Excitement enthralled me, as I begin to understand that this is my life, my future, and I can leave everything else back in Fresno. But as far as my new friend who willingly jumped on this experience with me, I knew I’d miss him and a few others. So we eventually leave the college and head to Ghirardelli upon his wishes. Chocolate instantly drove my senses, and it was already a blessing to get a sample. We came across a store selling minuscule love notes that we found overly adorable and amusing at the same time. When he said he wanted to buy one, I thought it was for his ex in all honesty. It’s just the way he talks about her; like he just wants her back. Then I just felt all awkward, not knowing how to deal with comforting people and such. Anyways, we decide to leave, considering the parking meter was just about done, and head to Fisherman’s Wharf. Walking down Pier 39, we come across an area with light-up candles and a mirror maze. Noeah makes fun of me for “running” into one of the mirrors even though I just simply walked into it. We also heard a child’s thud against a mirror, amusing us. With the meter out once again, we drive in circles, trying to find a way to drive or walk the Golden Gate Bridge and end up at a beautiful park just below it. Unable to find a parking slip machine, we leave and head to the Walt Disney museum. We walk out and begin venturing out to the area, arguing about falling leaves and laughing about a missile sculpture that looked like brown crayons. Noeah couldn’t stop laughing, and although the crayons looked a bit strange, I was more laughing about how he found it so hysterical. “This kid is ridiculous,” I thought. He seems happy, and he laughs a lot. I wish it were so with me. We have about an hour left from the parking meter, so we grab our blankets, create a lame “snacknic,” and lay them across the vibrant green grass and play “Cruise, Sleep, or Marry,” a typical game he always seems to love to play. Realizing the time, we figured it wouldn’t hurt to start heading home, and we made a Starbucks stop beforehand. Then I call Scott to see what he’s up to, and meet up with him back at Fisherman’s Wharf. We head towards HardRock café, and there’s a man in front of a store, selling roses. He puts one in front of my face, I kindly say “No, thank you” and continue to walk away, but Noeah suddenly decides to stop, look at the man, then back at me. All I was thinking was, “No. Shit. Stop. No. Gosh dang it,” but then he hands me the rose and I couldn’t help to just be grateful for his sweetness. Finally meeting with Scott, we spend the evening watching performers, eating overly-sated fries, and watching several people try to win a minion from the crane. Time was ticking, the sun disappeared, and the night grew cold. We said our goodbyes and good nights to Scott and head back towards the car. Initially, we thought we were at a different street, as we couldn’t find Wendy. We then start searching every nearby street for the car, and the two-hour parking time was up. We notify our moms about the situation, and while Noeah’s mom was just worried about his well-being, my mom brutally insulted me and practically “took away” Africa and college from me. I felt awful for Noeah, having to listen to me argue with my mom. I wasn’t able to shed some tears, even though I really wanted to. My heart and mind was only thinking about this atrocious night and how my high school work was basically being extirpated, as if it never happened. We figured Wendy may have been towed, and head to the police station. According to them, she hasn’t been reported towed and there may be a chance that we’re just “missing the streets because it’s busy tonight,” as she said. She hands us a map and a complementary SFPD pen, and head back to the Wharf. I continue arguing with my mom while Noeah took care of checking off the map while continuously hitting the panic button in hopes for Wendy’s alarm. My guilt was overrunning me, as this unfortunate event happened to him, but I didn’t know how to show sympathy. It was the last possible street, and we immediately realize there wasn’t a chance that Wendy was there, so we sit on the windowsill outside of a brick building. He calls his manager, and his phone dies a few seconds after. I begin typing a message to Scott, and my phone dies in the middle of it. At that point, I was too upset to eat, but Noeah was hungry and we needed to borrow a phone, so we enter In N Out. Luckily, I wrote down Scott’s and a few others’ phone numbers on my hand, and after social anxiety started to attack me, I eventually just got my desperate ass up and asked a few teenage girls across from us to borrow one of their phones. Of course, Scott doesn’t answer and I just leave a voicemail after the second try. A group of drunk women and their friends sit next to us, and with my exhaustion, they just increased my irritation to the extreme and my need for a bathroom sky-rocketed. Thankfully, we leave and I try to find a bush, but there really wasn’t one in the city. We search for inns and hotels, and I was able to use a restroom, and we figured we could just stay in iHop or walk around until daylight. Throughout the night, he would walk closest to the sidewalk, and I didn’t know he even knew about that specific “gentleman rule”, nonetheless carried it out. “Who is this guy and how did he get raised so perfectly,” were one of the thoughts that was running through my mind. As we continued to walk, a homeless man sitting outside Rainforest Café says something, and I intended to keep walking and ignore the man, but Noeah stops. “What the heck are you doing oh my gosh we’re going to die,” I thought. But the man starts giving Noeah some ludicrous advice about girls or something of that matter then asked for money – sure didn’t see that one coming. I found it awkward yet funny at the same time. The night moved on, and I’m positive my hair smelled like weed or cigarettes at that point. Waiting to cross an intersection, I hear loud thumps sprinting behind me, and for a second, I believed some man was about to kidnap me, but it was Scott and I just hugged him out of happiness. We run back to his car, and although they unfortunately got a ticket, him and his family saved us and let us crash in their hotel room. Sleeping at the edge of the bed, I was near to falling off but every time I turned whenever I lost circulation in an arm, I found Noeah awake and it seemed like he never slept, making me feel awful. I would’ve offered to trade spots with him, but in honesty, I felt like Scott would roll over in his sleep and throw an arm around me or of some sort, which was one of the last things I wanted. Throughout the night, alarms would go off and I would get up and shut them off. The day continued on, and Scott handed me a piece of gum, but Noeah took the wrapper and came back with it folded into a heart, and said “Happy Valentine’s Day.” I then realized he’s a bit cheesy, but that’s okay. We eat breakfast, call up Miguel and ask him to pick us up. After handling paperwork back at the police station, we go to Johnny Rockets because I’ve never been and head home. We grab Starbucks, and Miguel doesn’t leave until he finishes his coffee, and all I needed was to get home. We get back into the car, and Miguel mentions some insane idea about Carly possibly wanting him to kiss her, which I immediately threw my defenses up and told him that information would be incorrect. We get back on the road, Noeah and I accidentally fall asleep, and I wake up needing to use the restroom. Miguel swerved off to the next restroom stop, and he seemed a bit upset, which I didn’t understand until later. We finally get to my house, and Noeah comes in and talks to my mom. I already knew it wasn’t going to go very well because my mom is my mom. He leaves, and I later text him a little thank you, but I would’ve said more. I just didn’t want to seem crazy or overwhelming, but then he responds with a sweet message about what he intended to say my mom. He left me surprised, and almost restored my faith in the male race. I felt awful – still do, actually – at the fact that he was dragged into my mess. It seems like anyone and everyone who even speaks to me gets sucked into a hurricane of my world. But I hope he’s as forgiving as he seems to be. He’s definitely not like many guys I know, and this memory will definitely be one I’ll always remember

One Awkward Person and One Stranger

For eleven days, I got to board a plane and fly to the other side of the country. Before departing, I was beyond terrified as to what important hang outs I’d miss with my friends. But as the day got closer and my friends weren’t my friends anymore, I grew more and more eager to leave, not only this city, but my entire life. I got to forget about it.

During my first day, I experienced these towering, claustrophobic buildings enclosing me into this foreign environment. People were bumping into me, cigarettes being smoked in my hair, and cars zooming through the streets breaking every traffic law. I already miss the dirt, trees, and stars back home.

As time progressed and my anxiety was preventing me from the opportunities laid ahead of me, I took a deep breath and let the wind take me. From then on, it was a city of nonstop excitement and anticipation. Despite the fact that my family was with me, I met someone who took my hand and guided me with my adventures. We took on New York together.

Originally, I was supposed to stick with my family and be the obnoxious tourists I dread to be. As tourists, you visit the most typical attractions, snap photos, and leave. You never have enough time to let the atmosphere seep into your blood, and all that surrounds you are foreign tourists and repugnant cameras. But as 16-year-olds wanting to ditch our families and see the world for ourselves, letting the cigarette smoke become my perfume and allowing the grass stains become our outfits, we took each other’s hand and ran out to the city with nothing but running shoes and perseverance.

The look he gave me as I was so awed while riding the subway, as homeless people with such incredible vocal talents perform on the train, made me feel like I haven’t seen anything in the world. By being so wonderstruck by a simple train, the look he gave me told me that I’m in for the most daring couple days.

Attempting to crash a New York party, hiking in the woods and getting trapped in the rain five miles from home, acting as delinquents in the Disney store in Times Square, helping me get the perfect views of the city, and completely gazing into the enveloping city lights from the top of the Empire State Building… we all did it together.

I’m not saying that I’ve fallen in love with a boy because I didn’t. I fell in love with the city and the fact that I was able to venture out into an entirely contrasted lifestyle with someone who reminded me that there’s more to life than the black, depressed burden I feel every day.

For eleven days, I was freed. I felt as though I was young blue jay who was trapped in a cage, seeing the same blank walls. I had about a foot of space to move around in, not able to see something new and make me feel like there’s another purpose to living. Then one day, the gate opened. I dashed through the gate and didn’t see the blank walls anymore, and I didn’t have a foot of space. I had an entire planet to see, and I saw a world of color with so much green, blue, and pink, and I met people who restored my faith in the future generations.

No words will ever – I mean, ever – describe the remarkable adventures I experienced in just a few days. All I can say right now is forget about every strain preventing you from your happiness. The world is too damn beautiful and it’s just waiting for you to see it.

True North Strong and Free

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Traveling for 11 hours with layovers, flights, and driving, reaching to the edge of the country appears to be one of the ultimate “must do’s.”

Hopping off the bus, the misty air hangs onto my cheeks and clings onto my messy, slept-in hair. The salty smell brings me back to sunny California and its oceanic scenery yet the chill wind contrasts reminding me I’m on the complete opposite side of home. Looking out into the environment, the endless shades of green leaves me in awe.

I walk down the paved pathway, stone and smooth, leading me to the thick railing, elbow-high. The waters swim it’s way down from my left to the right, frantically swaying its way to its destination. Eager to collapse 167 feet down, it soars over the rocky cliff and plummets down leaving a rushing sound.

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Above the haste waters, what seems only a few yards away from me, holds a whole different country. The tall, distinct buildings creates a formation of perfection. Each edifice formed into its own unique structure, emphasizing on the concept of an entirely new world that potentially can be so different from mine.

I see a different country across from me, and I want to be able to step foot on their vibrant green grass and tell myself I’ve escaped and I start over. Until my family tells me to stand in front of the view and smile for a photo, my fantasy vanishes.

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We take a cruise ride at the bottom of the falls, getting soaked by the divulging splashes. As the boat steers, we’re growing closer and closer to the breathtaking waterfall. Trying to capture a photo, my phone gets covered in water within seconds, and the pure whiteness of the view shines brighter than the sun.

On our way back, as the mist starts to slow, I check the GPS on my phone, and the blue dot illuminates illustrating that we were on the border, technically being in two places at once.

Bucket list #8: “Be in two places at once” checked off.