Fresno to Casa de Fruta to Los Banos by Alexandra Carillo
-Mother’s Day 2018
When my mom comes home at 6 a.m. from seeing her mother
at the hospital all she wants is to go to the ocean.
Usually I don't drive any farther than the borders of Fresno, but
I offer to drive at least to Casa de Fruta.
Driving Pacheco Pass for the first time,
the wind pushes the car towards the wall
away from the hills that have signs warning of rockslides.
As my dad and sister sleep in the backseat, weary from hospital vigil,
my mom keeps up a constant chatter of advice and
I watch grasses ripple along the hills in the wind
that flows from the San Luis Reservoir.
The curves of the road feel unfamiliar
even though I have been a passenger on the pass so many times.
A Station Wagon covered in dust keeps pace with me
before it speeds away and I lose sight of it around the curves of the pass.
At Casa de Fruta the carousel is silent.
A tradition is broken as
we don’t climb the stairs behind the bathrooms
to pitch pennies into the pool of water that has collected in the rocks.
Instead, we get a text that says my grandma has died
so we turn the car around to go back to Los Banos.
After driving around the small town in circles,
looking for someplace to get away from my mom’s anger,
my dad, my sister, and I end up at the last table at Eddie’s.
The three of us sit at a table for four and wait
for a chile verde omelet, biscuits and gravy,
and a waffle topped with strawberries as
My mom spends Mother's Day in the car outside.