on the 10 freeway, due east
What would I do if I were an heiress? I would mostly pretend to be poor. But in a more convincing manner than the trust fund babies with fully furnished ‘Artist Lofts.’ I would get a day job that bored me to tears. As a parking attendant. Or a hostess. Or a post office clerk. Just to see how the other half lives. Then I’d quit because I could. I would spend a day with the little Mexican lady who sells miniature guitars on the street corner to see who buys them, and how much profit she really pulls in at the end of a long day. I would pretend like money wasn’t really all that important and that I could live without it. I would sell my belongings at auction, and keep only what I truly needed. Then I’d take the cash and buy a cute outfit for a homeless person. Or donate a toy to needy children. Something really great, like an iPod or a handbag. I would come up with a different plan for every single day. I’d tell all my friends I’m going away to study in Paris, in Italy, in New York City. Arrange lavish parties with banners that read: Bon Voyage. Buon Viaggio. Godspeed to Brooklyn. I would try different bad habits on for size; develop an eating disorder, dabble in nose candy, get a taste for cocktails and struggling musicians, maybe even fake a suicide or two. I’d stage my own kidnapping, and run away to the desert. I’d walk barefoot in the sand until my feet started to bleed. Then I’d look for a shoe store that accepted AmEx but never find one. Over time, I’d assimilate. I’d forget I was an heiress pretending to be poor, and really be poor. My parents’ credit cards would expire. My forms of identification would become invalid. I would no longer have a forwarding address. I’d learn to fish and wander the desert searching out a body of water in which to toss my line. I’d drink water from the center of cactus fruits. And air out my dirty laundry on the prickly spines. I’d dig little holes, and pee in them. I would keep on toward the horizon, chasing it, day in, day out. Until my skin dried completely and turned to scales that I could shed onto the side of a rock somewhere and leave to blow away in nighttime winds. The remaining particles of me would separate; some rising up in the air forever into oblivion and the vast outer reaches of the solar system. Others, falling to the ground where they’d turn to dust and mix with silt and someday, if I was lucky, no longer exist.
A fiction writer born and raised in San Diego, California, Estella received her BA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern California in 2006, with a minor in Theatre Arts. She is co-founder of the young writers’ collective My Sneaky Uncle, which has made appearances in The Huffington Post and Evil Monito Magazine. Estella is in her second year at the UW mfa. She is devoid of humour and generally thoughtless.