Life is Beautiful If You Love

The crisp morning draft through my
window does not wake me, and neither does the sun’s warm kiss on my cheeks nor
the shrill beeping of my alarm clock. No, I wake in the morning gasping for
breath to find my cat perched directly atop my throat. Pushing him off of me—eliciting
hiss from the furry creature—I roll out of bed and slouch into the
bathroom to get ready for the day. After pulling clothes onto my body and shoving
my feet into sneakers, I head out for a walk.

The colorful streets of Queens may
not be as relevant as the fancy buildings of Manhattan, but it’s not something
you can overlook so easily. Describing the constant strays dashing between your
feet and fruit rolling off their carts and onto the road wouldn’t even be a
scratch on the surface.

Our trees, blossoming with white
and pink flowers, allow their petals to flutter onto the sidewalks and wish
every traveler to walk only on a flowery road. The blessing is never wasted as
the paths are seldom empty; there’s always someone rushing into the subway
while yelling into their phone or taking a sip from their obnoxiously pink
Starbucks drink. The smell of halal food wafting out of the cart always has
people stopping to fish out their wallets and scroll through Instagram while
waiting for their delicious serving of chicken over rice. All of these are
common sights seen year-round, yet with each passing season, my friends and I
find new things to do in our neighborhood.

My favorite activity in winter is
indubitably having snowball fights at the local park after a long day of
waiting to be dismissed from school. My friends and I rush to the park to build
snow forts and attack each other from across the field, tinkling laughter
filling the air, unaware of anything besides where the next rock to duck behind
was. Inevitably, someone falls and tastes snow mixed with dirt, the gross
sensation overwhelming them enough to scream for a time-out. The rest of us
would gather around them with half the group sneering and half the group asking
if they were okay.

              After we
get tired of pelting snowballs at each other, we go to the local diner and pile
our cash to buy obscene amounts of pizza and spaghetti. The other patrons roll
their eyes at us, a scraggly, snow-covered group of teenagers, interrupting the
quiet ambience with our loud chatter. (The owner doesn’t mind though; she
thinks we’re rather lovely.) Some of us sit in the red cushion booths and talk
while the others harass the diner’s cat or try making it across the floor by
only stepping on red tiles.

Though I love coming here with my
friends to hang out, the chaos can be overwhelming so I also love coming to the
diner alone right before sunset. Nothing beats sitting in the booth alone with
a cold glass of soda, watching the sun disappear beneath the horizon as it
paints the sky orange and red. When you look out the clear glass windows and
feel the warm sun caress your face, smiling at you as it promises to be back
the next day, it’s easy to see why this diner is one of the most popular
restaurants in the area.

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