Beneath the surface, California is about to break into pieces, but right now, you love her. You ignore the signs, romanced by her temperate weather, the lull of the ocean, the easy pace of living. There is no way something this beautiful can just fall apart and float out to sea. You sit together, chatting amicably, devouring the best carnitas tacos of your life (heavy on the salsa verde), watching a sunset that looks like a postcard of a sunset, tossing back cold beers with lime, and you think: I could be happy here.

     But when the cracks become too jagged to ignore, you will leave her for Pacific Northwest. For the safety of solid ground. For the constant chance of rain. For the smell of coffee in the streets, on her breath, in her hair. You will send a few half-hearted letters to California, but you’ll never visit, and she’ll never ask you to. You will feel overwhelming relief, and you will forget everything, even the sensation of the aftershocks when you held her so close that you shook too.


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Amanda Miska lives and writes in Northern Virginia. Her work has been featured in Whiskey Paper, Buffalo Almanack, CHEAP POP, jmww, The Collapsar, Storychord, Five Quarterly, Cartridge Lit, Cactus Heart, Pea River Journal, Counterexample Poetics, and elsewhere. She is the fiction curator at Luna Luna Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @akmiska.