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Version: travel_essay 09.21.22
september 21, 2022 // let it be
moving across the country as a passenger for the first time is no less exhausting the first three times i've made that trek, but this time was so much more enjoyable. even bushy-tailed and bright-eyed at 18—unsure of myself, unsure of what was ahead in california. even at 26, in the throes of a quarter-life crisis, in the middle of my master's studies, yearning for a better life. this time, alongside the man i hope to marry someday, was far more interesting.
we went off without a hitch until we struck off into the desert portion of our journey, three days of driving time under our belt. our trek was timed horribly alongside the hottest heat wave on record in california, completely unprecedented. any car would've had trouble after a thousand miles in the heat, but this was something else. we were stranded at a rest stop during a heat wave with, luckily, plenty of water that we would douse ourselves in periodically. the hardship was unwarranted, but understandable when it comes to the balance of the universe; with things so easy as it is between us, it only makes sense to make us have to go through something wretched together.
me, an anxiety mess. him, collected and calm. the perfect response to my constant fussing, wondering if we were going to be okay.
unfortunately, almost two hours from san francisco, his car would finally meet its end. it felt like the biggest ask: move across the country to me and lose your car in the process, please? but he took it surprisingly well. after the year he had, i was shocked he was able to part ways with the thing that got him to jackson, mississippi, in the first place, but i think precisely because of the year he had, he was able to part ways with the thing that no longer served him.
talking to him is so incredibly easy, and prior to our journey, i was afraid we would run out of things to talk about on the drive in such close proximity. no such thing happened. we laughed and theorized all the way across the country, taking our journey one leg at a time while still enjoying each other's company. i don't know why i was so surprised. i was afraid he would, once landing in san francisco, decide this was too much and turn back the other way. he did no such thing.
i continue to shock myself with the reality that i'm actually in love with a person who's truly in love with me and wants to be with me, even weathering many storms across the fields and mountains as we embarked on the beginning of our journey together. ▮