There was this place Lukas and Daniel and I used to go to watch sunsets during monsoon season. Luke started taking us when we were kids, 12 or 13. Danny and I would run around, little sister competing with her big brother in makeshift games. Lukas would just sit on the trunk of the car until the first hint of pink hit the sky between the broken storm clouds. He’d pulled me and Danny by our shirt collars to sit next to him. He wouldn’t say a word, but he’d get this look on his face. The sunlight would shoot through the clouds at this perfect angle, cutting just between two mountain ranges. We’d stay totally silent until the sky faded to grey, and the clouds in the east were completely dark. We’d get in the car and drive home, taking the long way. We’d stay quiet the whole way, until Lukas cracked a joke.
I remember when Lukas brought his first boyfriend with us. The boyfriend talked the entire time, oohing and ahhing at the vibrant pinks and reds of our Sonoran sun. Lukas talked in this quiet, dangerous tone as we drove back to the boyfriend’s house. There is no word in the English language that can capture the feeling of watching a perfect sunset, he said. The closest you can get is ‘tranquility,’ and it still falls short. Luke looked at the boyfriend, who seemed to be listening politely, but disinterested in the topic. There is no word in the English language that can capture the majesty of a perfect sunset, Lukas said. You can’t listen to the warm breeze mixed with the scent of waiting rain by looking at a photo, and if you’re talking, you aren’t listening.
Lukas broke up with the boyfriend.
The first time Lukas brought the man he finally fell in love with, Daniel and I gave him deadly looks when he tried to interrupt the sunset. He looked at Lukas’s face, and that was it. The four of us sat in powerful silence, my legs tucked behind Luke and my head on Danny’s shoulder. I never felt more invincible than sitting on that car with my brothers.
Now I’m alone, so far from the desert and her summer rain. So far from my brothers. So far from peace or tranquility or sun or wind. It’s silly, to be thinking about this, locked in this hell. Maybe I’m romanticizing the past, but I can’t help it. I need something to hold on to. Lukas and Daniel and those sunsets feel like all the happy memories I have left.
Once upon a time, there was this place.