Words by Jacy Frazee
Photo by Sara Freitag
Driving down the highway I have to swerve, a grey Chevy truck dashing into view, cutting me off. Every time I see that kind of truck, I can't help but think of you. I think of all those times I’d peer out my window to see you parked on the curb. My heart would jump with the sight of you standing there. I’d pound down the stairs and into the street; you'd open up your arms in greetings to me. Your arm then swings over my shoulder as you lead me around the truck to its passenger door.
I shouldn’t look, but I always have to; I shouldn’t associate this truck to yours, but I always do. I look, but it’s never you, it’s just another Chevy driver with a past not tied to my own. I don’t know if it’s disappointment or relief I get knowing it’s not you. But even now, years later, every Silverado I see I think of you; it doesn’t even have to be the same color, make or year, the Chevy decal is enough to spark remembrance. I remember you, the way you’d always open that passenger door for me, the smell of your air freshener instantly welcoming me and spilling out onto the sidewalk. It was always the same smell, the same small little tree.
You never hung it on the rearview mirror though; instead, it was thrown on the dash. The small tree carelessly sliding around as we drove away. It would rest there in the sun until the smell faded and you'd replace it with an identical copy as if the previous one never existed. Did you ever feel remorse after tossing one away for another? Did you ever think of changing the smell, deviating from what you were used to?
Did you replace me as easily as you did those little pine tree air-fresheners?
Coffee CONVERSATIONS with Clarissa Monique Gastelum: CEO of New Palm and Foster Care Social Worker
Interview conducted by Iliana Felix
Photography courtesy of Clarissa Monique Gastelum
While attending Cal Poly Pomona, Clarissa worked for a foster agency and observed the hardships and rejection foster kids endured. Through the foster agency, she then learned about foster twin brothers who wanted to join the military but did not have the finances to do so. In response, Clarissa decided to create handmade blue ribbons for the twins and sold them on campus, at her mom’s work and to whoever else wanted to purchase the ribbon for a dollar. Little did she know this simple action would result in something greater and alter her life for a better purpose – but, obviously, God knew.
IF: How did you become interested in fashion, and what is it about fashion that continues to intrigue you?
CMG: For me, fashion was not an interest. It is and has always been a passion. As a child, clothes fascinated me. I was always in my mom’s closet playing dress up. To this day, I am in love with fashion, style, design, textures and colors.
IF: Did you ever consider attending an arts institute to focus on a career in fashion?
CMG: I did consider attending a fashion school after high school, but fear held me back from doing so.
IF: What made you take the risk to pursue your passion for fashion? When did you have that aha! moment that made you think, “you know what, I can do this!”?
CMG: A few years ago, I was at the lowest point of my life. I lost a part of me that I truly cared about and was scared of losing. When you lose the thing that you fear the most of losing, then the risk of losing something else isn't that terrifying...Risks no longer become a barrier. That made me realize, I can either feel sorry for myself or get up and do something.
By Talia Schuyler
My sister fills my father’s cup with ice
and places it in his right hand while his left
hand loosely grips the wheel.
That is his water,
the ice dissolves on the way to his lips.
In the backseat our white faces glow red
and the opened window makes our hair dance.
Our mini-van’s air-conditioner broke
this morning en route from Las Vegas
to home. Today we are confronted
with the desert heat
we boasted of but didn’t feel any longer
than a walk from the porch to the car.
We pass hazy fields and bare earth
on abandoned highways.
The dust that rises from the small, isolated towns
is palpable. It makes the land faded and drowsy
even under a spotless sky.