that pastel sky is the only thing that they chose to remember from their road trip together because it was the last time that they both knew that they were still in love. he drove and she would mindlessly look at the stars. even at three a.m, sitting in his small red car as it barreled down the deserted highway, they would barely say a word to each other — mostly because there wasn’t much to say. what do you say to someone you’ve just broken up with? they were twenty-three and no longer in love. she would pretend to sleep in the passenger seat — with a pair of large sunglasses over her eyes only so he wouldn’t know that she was watching him — as he drove down the silent roads of the west coast at four in the morning. it allowed her to admire him without him knowing he was being admired;

she liked the way he would sometimes get lost in some thought and start smiling to himself, the corners of his lips curving upward momentarily and his upper row of teeth grazing over his lip and biting down to prevent a small chuckle to come out of from his mouth which could potentially wake her up. she would miss the way she would draw lines (only in her mind of course) connecting his freckles together like mini-constellations.

their greatest downfall was their inability to open up to each other. they were young, stubborn, and hopeful they could make it work, despite their reluctancy to let each other in. they just weren’t ready to co-exist together. so they did the road trip — that they had planned many months ago when they were still obsessively in love with each other — together anyway, and on their last night, as they passed through san franscisco, it slowly started to settle in for both of them that by this time the next day, everything between them would change for good. instead of replaying old memories of them in her head, the girl chose to admire the sky, a tender pastel peach color, while resting her head against the passenger-seat window. she absentmindedly placed her left hand over his right, like she had done so many times before on their drives together, and his body naturally started to relax underneath her familiar touch. he stopped the car at the next red light and nervously turned to look at her so he could watch her in a moment where she had let her guard down; she had a habit of trying to compose herself or edit herself whenever she felt like people were watching, including him. but on these road trips, there were times where she would get so wrapped up in watching the views outside the window that she would forget about her existence and just be. so for him, this was always his chance to see her at her most authentic self and it was always so mesmerizingly beautiful; and it hurt that he would probably never get to see her like this again.

as if she could sense him looking at her, she shifted her bodyweight towards him and awkwardly smiled. in that split-second, if either of them had said something, anything really, then things between them could’ve turned out differently; but neither said a word. they both just kept smiling like two strangers passing each other in a crowded hallway. so, when the stoplight finally turned green and his eyes instinctively glanced at the steering wheel, they both knew that this was the end of the road for them.
— n.d.