Table for One

Ashley Escobar

Summer is another person. She’s tall but never overbearing. She winks at me when she passes by completely. But when we’re together, time feels slow, almost too slow. A slowness of longing like when she drove me through the thickets of Big Sur, listening to Belle & Sebastian. Highway One is the only redeemable aspect of California, Summer said, waving at the elephant seals. I checked our itinerary. I used to be nervous about making plans. The boardwalk will be closed by the time we reach Santa Cruz, I said, but she ignored me. Summer passes by slowly but before long, the winding roads come to an end. We were naive back then, but a naiveté that never equated to ignorance, only inexperience. She’d buckle in my stuffed animals––a cocker spaniel named Olive and Daffodil the moo-cow––into the backseat. Now we listen to the same songs in different cars, and I stand in the fog-filled streets of Carmel-by-the-sea late-autumn slightly ashamed to dine at an overpriced restaurant in overalls. I once told Summer I wanted to live somewhere that ends in by-the-sea. I remember Summer doesn’t have a home. She always returns as someone else. I eat there anyway. Without any reservation.

Ashley D. Escobar collects memories and curates dreams. Her debut poetry chapbook  SOMETIMES  is out from Invisible Hand Press. Her work can be found in Ethel Zine and BlueHouse Journal, among others. People watching is her favorite hobby. Find her infrequently on Twitter @quinoa_cowboy & quinoacowboys.com