Pit Stop. by Eva Gonzalez

Somewhere on the straight line that takes you from the Redwoods to Los Angeles
there’s a town called Chico; where I’m from and where Adrien insists on stopping
because he does not believe that the odometer is telling the truth when
it says we have sixty miles left before running out of gas.

We pull off the highway and onto a strip of paved desert with an Exxon and a Sonic;
I am not surprised to see my mother at a random gas station in Chico but I am surprised at how
Adrien will not let me ignore her; turn around and use a credit card instead of
paying with cash. Maybe surprised is not the right word, and disappointed is better.

He tries to convince me that enough time has passed, but it does not work.

I am even more disappointed when he invites her to lunch; we place our orders and
my mom recommends that I get the chili dog – as if she does not remember that
sausage gives me indigestion. The three of us sit around a blue-painted picnic table
crumbs and ketchup packets and crumpled up napkins filling the space where love should be.

We’re back on the highway not an hour later; where I roll the window down and let the
Southern California wind blow my hair in Adrien’s direction, hoping my split ends will prick
the exposed skin on his shoulder, where his cross tattoo sits with an initial for each member of
his family; a permanent reminder that he is a lucky one.

Eva Gonzalez is a writer from Philadelphia currently living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found in LIGEIA and is forthcoming in BULLSHIT Literary Magazine. Her Instagram is @eveveveveveveveva.