January 19, 2018

As my legs stuck to the grey leather interior, I think about the memories shared here. The seat beneath me is worn, broken in, probably from his tendency to not slow down for speed bumps. Everytime we drive over Thunderbird Mountain he plays a specific song, Don’t Let Me Down by the Chainsmokers. As the road reaches the peak, all you see are city lights in the distance. When the beat drops, we simultaneously sway our heads side to side; the bass fills the seat and shoots a vibrating sensation up my spine. I take a deep breath and the aroma of cherries satisfies my senses. If I close my eyes and focus on the smell you would think I would picture exquisite cherry trees flowing in a faint wind, but I don’t, I picture him. For being a basic air freshener, this smell has a distinct memory: his 2003, dark blue, Four Runner.

My fingers trace the laceration in the seat beneath me, my mind forming the idea that this is what my heart feels like: damaged, hurt. In the air you can feel the tension. Not a tension between enemies, but a tension between two secret admirers saying goodbye. As the edge of the seatbelt chafes my neck I can feel his eyes glancing at me here and there. I can feel the blood vessels in my face widen, my cheeks become a red, rosie pink tone. I have to force myself to not let my eyes find their way to his. God only knows that would make this even harder. The four foot aux cord responsible for allowing us to escape reality, lightly lays on my left thigh. My hand turns the circular knob and the warm air finds its way out of the vents and onto my skin, comforting me.

I look out the windshield and see the familiar place; the sign reads “Dutch Bros Coffee”. If you look around at the floor of his car and the cup holders on the side of the doors, you can tell we come here often. I guess the fact he has many empty cups living in this space doesn’t bother him. The line of cars in front of us seems to never end and the red glow from the brakes gets painted across his face. His army green, Cal Poly snapback fits his head snug, his long luscious lashes flickering approximately every three seconds. Those sea-glass eyes of his can be seen from a mile away. He is so perfect without intention. On the backseat lays the black and red 49ners tied knot blanket I made him. He sees me glance back at it and remarks “sprayed your perfume on it huh”. My obnoxious laugh fills his car because someway somehow he knows me better than I know myself. I hoped that the smell of that perfume would remind him of me and would make him miss me a little bit more.

I picked up his bare, unprotected Iphone 5s to search for a song. The windows are down and the September air flows its way into the car. The tune I selected breaks through his speakers. It starts off slow with a melody that entices you to sway your body side to side, snapping your fingers. At one minute and three seconds into the song, the bass line and drums pull back forming the beat drop that is followed by rhythm and energy. The energy released and the beats that eco out of his subs are the reasons we bond over this type of music. Music that makes you feel, music that lets you escape.

Every moment with him is filled with laughter, smiles, sarcastic remarks, and love. Whether we wanted to admit it or not, there has always been a feeling of love. The drive home was too fast for my liking, it always is. Feeling every rock in the road with his lifted tires and unfortunately not hitting a single red light. As we pull up my street and my house becomes visible, my heart starts to race, feeling like it’s going to jump out of my chest. My stomach turned upside down and filled with fluttering butterflies. His goofy self plays Say Goodbye by Chris Brown; so cheesy yet thoughtful. I laugh yet cry as he sings along. The back of my hand is wet and black from wiping my tears. His teary blue eyes light up the dark space like a nightlight.

We sit and talk. So quiet you can hear the air rushing out of the vents and the engine running all so clear. I dig into the pocket attached to the back of the drivers seat, finding the school picture of me I placed there a couple months back; “Just so you don’t forget about me” I say. Rolling his eyes at my remark, we both notice the time. His stereo lights up ten thirty pm; not too late yet it’s a school night. I could stay here sitting in this passenger seat, with my feet barely touching the ground, and my hair all messy from the windows being down for eternity. The stars visible from his sunroof, I wished upon a star he didn’t have to leave. I know I would see him in a couple of months but, how do you go from seeing your best friend everyday to not even once a week? I hated California for taking him. I hated California for being the reason our mutual love remained unsaid. He could see the pain, the hate, the hurt, all in my eyes. I could see the feelings he kept to himself through his body language. I hated California for taking the place I held near to my heart, a place that held precious teenage memories: his 2003, dark blue, Four Runner. Goodbye B, see you soon.

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