“Hurry up, we’re going to be late!” shouted Aria Wilson from down the stairs. “I’m coming, calm down!” her boyfriend, Mason Brown yelled back. Aria and Mason were heading to the NASA space station for Mason’s big day. He was becoming the next man to walk on the moon.
I know that this could possibly be a huge thing for Mas, but I just can’t cope with him being gone for that long. They say that he could be gone up to 11 months. And I haven’t even told him that I’m buying us a new house. I can’t afford it without him. Despite my concerning thoughts, I do one last check of myself in the mirror, and we walk out the door.
We get in the car, a 2012 Ford Expedition that Masons’ had since he was 16. He refuses to get a new one though, he says it has “too many memories.” I have my own car, a 1999 Explorer. Not the greatest, but it suits my 90s vibes. Like Maren Morris once said, “She’s my teenage time machine.” I like that phrase so much, I sometimes use it as my excuse when someone asks me if I’m going to get a new car. Heck, Mason and I both got our cars when we were 16. My family wasn’t poor, but we lived in a ramshackle Victorian house, while Mason and his family; him, his mother Sherry, his father Bob, and his sister Vanessa, who died in a car wreck in 2015, lived in a huge vibrant colored mansion.
Vanessa and her friend, Kaytelin Smith, took Kaytelin’s parent’s new Mustang and decided to drive onto the old broken bridge on the outskirts of town. Neither of them had a license, not even a learners permit. They were going too fast and didn’t see the sign that said “DANGEROUS BRIDGE! DO NOT CROSS!” The bridge fell in, and their bodies were never found. I never bring that up to Mason, but sometimes, I hear him whisper her name in his sleep.
It’s not a long drive from our condo in L.A. to the Space Station in Pasadena. There is a space station in a town near L.A. , but this is a big deal, so we have to travel to Pasadena . I bring the same thing I bring every time we go on a trip; my travel bag. It consists of my Walkman, batteries, flashlight, 4 hundred-dollar bills, pills, phone chargers, headphones, and dry food and water. Mason says it’s a little extra for just a trip to Pasadena, but I think that being a little extra never hurt anyone.
I remember the time we traveled to Nebraska for a UCLA game. Our car broke down in Wyoming on the way back. We lived on banana chips, Doritos, and Taco Bell, because Mason’s car died in the parking lot. I will just say, I’m glad he had a huge Expedition at that time. We put the seats down and rolled out the sleeping bags from my travel bag. I slept good, besides hearing the midnight traffic every so often. And Mason kept me up, muttering “Vanessa” in my ear as he cuddled up to me. It got pretty cold overnight because of the winter air, and not being able to turn the car on for heat because it was dead.
The next morning, we woke up, backs stiff. It had gotten below 25 degrees last night, so I found myself cuddling under my blanket for warmth. In the first couple of minutes that I was awake, I was extremely confused……and cold. I woke Mason up and asked him how we were going to start our car up. I ended up calling AAA.
The trip to Pasadena took a lot less time than I thought it would.
We got there around 7:00, just in time to check into our hotel. We went swimming and worked out, then, we had slushies at the food stand down the street. I got the green apple flavor, like always, and Mason got plain cherry. We couldn’t feel the brain-freezes we were getting over out continuous laughter. We talked about our trip to Waikiki Beach when we accidentally fell asleep in the maid’s corners instead of our hotel room. Then, we talked about the time we got separated at the Farmer’s Market in Cuba. Not the most organized times, but the most adventurous times. After we arrived back at the hotel, we went to our hotel room. We are in our hotel bed after 3 hours of adventure. Mason rolls over to face me. “I love you.” He whispers as he kisses my forehead. He rolls back over, and in no time, I hear him snoring, drowning out the sound of the TV. I shut the TV off and roll over and fall asleep myself.
The next morning, when I wake up, Mason is up having his usual cup of decaf. I refuse to start a day with an empty stomach, so we go down to the kitchen. I have an açaí bowl, an orange juice, and a gluten-free donut. Mason has a waffle and a half-full glass of greenish-colored milk. As we are eating, a little old lady who introduces herself as Luna Rose, asks us if we can make her toast. I glance at Mason who is staring at me. I nod, giving Luna, and Mason, the cue that we will. Mas knows that I am allergic to bread, so he stands up, he has his nicest black suit on.
He walks over to the toaster and puts two slices of bread into both slots. He and Luna are laughing it up. She says something that’s probably not funny, and Mason laughs. I sit there, annoyed. He’s flirting with that 80-year-old more than he flirts with me in a week! He looks back at me like he can see the dirty glare I’m giving him behind his back. He stops laughing, puts the toast on a plate after spreading butter on it, and walks back over to our table. Luna gives him a confused look, and sits back down across from her husband.
We head back to our room, and I get dressed up in my formal attire, my deep blue skinny jeans with rolled pant legs, my Taupe Ankle Boots, and my black and white v-neck long sleeve pullover sweater. I do my makeup, hair, brush my teeth, and we’re out the door. The entire drive to Pasadena, I’m in a cold sweat. I’m happy for Mason, but again, I don’t want him to be gone for so long. I look out the window and just ponder what it will be like with Mason gone for a year! My stomach hurts, but I sit there, silent, like nothing is wrong, even though I feel like I could vomit.