October Heat by Xuan Ly

“It’s like a microwave in there,” Heather exclaimed gesturing towards her office. The main classroom is no different. Within the first months of school, the Creative Writing room became notorious for the heat trapped inside; so being stuck in the there for three hours everyday isn’t always pleasant. San Francisco’s unorthodox October heat also added to the issue. Not only has the autumn sun kept us cooking in the Creative Writing “microwave” for most of the school year, but the collateral damage of the recent wildfires, turning North California into dust, gave us no choice but to keep the doors closed.

Over the past week, the Northern California fires have been unstoppable, spreading smoke and ash into the atmosphere that blew down the coast of California. This has affected the quality of San Francisco’s (among other cities) air, turning the condition to “Code Red: Unhealthy” in a matter of days. At school, many students began wearing facemasks and were heavily advised to stay inside. This meant no one dared to open the back door of the CW room, even when it became unbearably hot.

Despite the lingering heat and suffocating atmosphere, CW continued to prepare for our upcoming fall showcase: Metamorphosis. In groups of four, we would read and revise each other’s work through a process called workshopping. We repeated this process for three long days, sculpting our pieces to the best it could be. Then all thirty of us practiced performing our piece in front of the Spoken Arts director, Rahman. After listening to each performance, he would give tips on how to improve our presentation.

Most afternoons, the smoke would cause the sun to glow red, similar to the fluorescent color of lava. “The world is ending!” students screamed as they studied the sun and dodged floating ashes. As the radiating orb began to set in the evening, magnificent shades of purple, pink, and orange would illuminate the sky like a light show, changing as darkness loomed above. Before the sun disappeared, many people were able to snap photos of the beautiful evening because of the warm October air. Even though us San Franciscans aren’t used to weather over sixty-five degrees, it was nice to see something other than blankets of gray fog.

Xuan Ly, class of 2021

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