Robin Rendle
• San Francisco, California

Escape

The light is perfect today; the sky a glacial blue, the sun setting off to the left. On the hill just over there, layers upon layers of houses like a great slanting and disorganized cake. I watch them everyday. When I wake up they’re quiet, hazy, somewhat-blue, and then at night they’re buzzing with electricity. Also, thanks to this hill of hodge podge homes, we’re protected from the harshest weather the peninsula has to offer.

The hill over there is a random assortment of everything; homes both quaint and small, or enormous and violent green with stripes of mahogany red. There’s a dash of fertile green up against the wild strokes of graffiti. There are balconies and tiny windows, solar panels, and platforms. In between all this pure chaos, there’s a handful of minimal-esque mansions spread about with their absolute conformity to square shapes and bright, white paint. One home that sits just in front of a square white mansion happens to be a dazzling, neon colored structure with everything out of place. Both of them feel like the punk-rock alternative to the other.

It’s in these moments—watching California bask its inhabitants with golden amber light—that I feel like I’ve escaped Plymouth, my hometown back in the UK. Through mostly luck (and perhaps a tiny, almost insignificant amount of skill) I have somehow teleported myself here and into a quiet dimension of clumsy homes with glacial blues enveloping them all. I’ve escaped the poverty and the sadness and the no-future-present of that other place. I’ve escaped the language and the clouds and, well, I’ve escaped my family, too.

Huh. An enormous bubble just appeared in front of one of the houses over there. Up and up this bubble floats until—pop!—nothing. I assume there’s a garden, hidden behind all the layers of homes stacked on top of one another, and children are playing in it. Or perhaps a whole family of bubblists have found their true calling.

More bubbles! Dozens more in fact, but smaller now, hover above the houses on the hill. It’s a cornucopia of bubbles over there, a utopia of bubbles, bubbles galore. They churn and warp in the breeze and then, in a beat, they’re gone.