Not long ago it was your feet on the dash of a well-loved Subaru, a notebook pressed against the folds of your stomach, our toes somewhere between home and Utah.

“This place,” you’d say, fingers twisting unwashed hair.

One eye on the interstate, the other on the white of your thighs, I’d ask again if you were hungry. Our appetites meant tangerine slices and unsalted pistachios. We fancied ourselves healthy and content, though we both knew it was one or the other.

“What do you want?” you’d ask.

“What do you have?”

“You’re sitting in it.”

The Denver at Shari’s with a side of pickles. A bag of Fritos as the Rockies beat the Giants. Potato soup at a Fresno dive called Maggie’s Farmhouse.

“What are you writing?” I’d ask.

“I’m taking notes.”


“And lists. I’d like to remember this.”

“Are you afraid you’ll forget?” I’d ask.

“Of course.”

It wasn’t as if we bought tie-dyed tank tops and fled to Southeast Asia. There were no lesson plans on English slang or the past participle. We both enjoyed good grammar, but I found the sounds your hips made each morning far more interesting, the way they’d shift with my fingers beneath your mother’s flannel quilt.

“Watch the road,” you’d say.

“It’s still there.”

Instead we did the thing where you host an impromptu yard sale and pack the leftovers in a late ‘90s Outback. We each kissed our mothers and hugged our fathers, pretended that the wet in our eyes was simply a symptom of arrested development. Everything was unfair, especially our inability to breathe in any tense other than the present.


About the Author: Travis Roberts grew up in Enumclaw, Washington. He has worked in Thai classrooms, small offices and fluorescent warehouses. You can find him in Literary Orphans, Black Heart Magazine and The Molotov Cocktail, among others.

Story Song: "Technicolor Girls" by Death Cab For Cutie