carrie hawthorne


It’s my second day in San Diego, and I’m in a little boutique on Garnet St. in Pacific Beach. I find the perfect white eyelet baby doll dress, one left, just my size. It has embroidered Spanish roses in black and red, and it reminds me of something Frida Kahlo might have worn to bed with a lover, and that makes me want it even more. I reach for it, and a hand comes out of nowhere, snatching it away. I look at the owner of the hand, she looks at me. She has long, bottle-blonde hair with dark roots and Hawaiian Tropic skin, and she’s pretty in a young Drew Barrymore sort of way. “That white will look so lovely with your tan,” I say.

“Want to see it on?” She smiles, heading to the dressing room, and I’m following her because there’s something about her that makes me feel like a fashion show is in order. I watch her chipped red toenails under the dressing room door as she kicks her daisy dukes into a corner, and when she comes out in the dress, she reminds me of a Barbie. 

“I think you should wear it out,” I say. 

She nods, rips off the tag, hands it to me and I buy the damn thing for her because why the hell wouldn’t I? The next thing I know we are eating snow cones on the beach, then we’re getting our feet wet, and pretty soon we’re swimming in ponytails and bras and panties at twilight, kissing under the lifeguard tower.

“This was worth the price of admission,” I say. She doesn’t seem to hear me. 

And the tide comes up over the white dress, spread out over the sand.

19 May, 2021

Carrie Hawthorne is currently studying Creative Writing and Literature at Antioch University. She studied Feature Film Writing at UCLA Extension and English at Pasadena City College. Her work is forthcoming in the Fall 2021 issue of Cultural Weekly. She is also a yoga teacher and a healer, and lives in Pasadena with her fiancé and their young son.