i love arizona all year round. it’s home, even on days where it’s 120 degrees on a windy day and even hotter if you sit on the pavement, and the skin on your back is bright red and feels like it’s being stretched across your shoulder blades, but days like today are just gorgeousness. 65 degrees, a cool breeze, i look out my window and thousands of tiny yellow leaves cascade down from tall sprawling trees, lighting down to rest on thick green grass and nestle down to the damp ground, waiting for little toes to uproot them again… in the garden, tomato plants and marigolds strain up towards the sun and blue sky, trying to exchange their leaves for wings. everything looks upward, and everyone walks with an air of weightlessness, as if hoping for the wind to pick them up and carry them away, trailing their toes through freshly churned soil as if it was water before floating off. happy because i have the right to say yes or no, even if i am only saying no because i want to be difficult. i love emphasizing the word, tongue pressed lightly on the roof of my mouth, lips open and then purse. no. i will not cave simply because everyone else is doing it, just because you asked me to. i will not make every free decision a yes, i am tired of saying yes, i am done not having the energy to resist. haven’t i given in enough? is it ever going to be enough? do i keep trying to get to your image of perfection and fail, or halt all progress for the sake of control and my image of joy? i’ll take the achievable.