We had been playing and hiking and climbing over rocks for an hour or so. Afterwards we were riding in the car and chatting, when suddenly she stopped what she was saying and peered into my eyes with her big brown ones, and said, "Wait. Are you a grown-up?"
I don't know what gave me away. "Yes," I reluctantly answered my four year old cousin, Lauren. I think I will maybe always admit this with a bit of wistfulness...like, I don't know just how I arrived here but here I am indeed.
Visiting Fremont is always lovely, and I think I love the Bay Area more every time I go back. Sometimes it is difficult to drive away; from family, from rolling hills, from the network of fun little towns in every direction to visit, from the diversity, from history, and again, family, so much family.
But then I take my road trip back south, and slow my freeway speed under those familiar Santa Barbara exits...Las Positas, Carrillo, Garden... I go straight to my soccer game under the lights at City College. A warm salty ocean breeze blows over us as we win our game. 3 friends call me in a row to get me to join them at Fosters Freeze for a milkshake. My studio is cozy and inviting with the smell of my orchid from Meghan. And Fiesta has arrived, beckoning me with its churros and confetti eggs and flamenco dancing and citywide good cheer.
Living here makes being a grown-up way more than worth the while. I think I'll stay here for now.