american canyon

There was a house on the headland south of Dee Why beach. It looked out through Norfolk Island pines to the grey and silver sea. It was your typical San Francisco Victorian, 3br/2ba, and being in Bernal Heights… near Dee Why beach… it was priced at $1.6m. I worked out that if we put $200k down, our mortgage would come to a little over $7000/month, and I was trying to calculate that as a percentage of my salary, to see if it was over a third…

I woke up drenched in sweat and twisted up in the duvet. The cats were nowhere to be seen. I took deep breaths and waited for my heart rate to drop below 100. I pushed off all the covers but the top sheet and lay on my back staring up. It was as dark as it ever gets in our room with the plantation shutters closed: purple-orange with light pollution.

And then the whole house shook, exactly like the quake simulator at the Cal Academy. I could feel Bernal’s bedrock moving like the pistons of a giant machine. The house moved easily with it, a good rider on a disobedient horse.

My first instinct was to throw my body over Jeremy’s.

“In case the chandelier came down on us,” he said, amused, over coffee at St Jorge this morning. The chandelier is a IKEA Christmas wreath made of LEDs. It wouldn’t have hurt.

“The dream was scarier than the earthquake,” I said.

“Of course,” he said. “But did you hear that noise that went along with the quake?”


“It was property prices starting to come down.”

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