Gas station coffee cups and blankets, thrown in the car, toss with our turns. Country music plays on the radio and I cringe with each loss of the signal. I look out the stained spotted windows and catch my reflection from the streaked sky filled with color. We pull over on the side of the road just as we reach the totality line and claim our spot with thirty other people.
I stood in the state of Wyoming staring at the sun, squinting, sweat glistening on my face. The sun stuck to my black shirt like tar on a street and I desperately tried to shield my face from the sun.
The sun that would put on a show for millions of people. That sun that Americans had waited for years. The sun on the day of August 21. The eclipse was happening and we had to go to Wyoming.
I lay on the blue down blanket, rocks sticking in my back and termite mounds close to my toes. I wipe the sweat beads from my forehead, hot and thirsty. My camelback sits on my back and I pull the nozzle toward my dehydrated mouth.
The sun is orange, the sky is black, my eclipse glasses trick me. I stare at the sun that reminded me of a cheese block that a mouse had taken a nibble out of. Except it becomes larger and larger till only a slim crescent remained.
I ran towards the car, shivering and in depart need of warmth. I grabbed a fleece coat and dashed back to reclaim my spot on the blanket. The sky suddenly turned a shade of musty dark blue and voices erupted and people threw their eclipse glasses off. A ring of silver appeared around the dark sky and murmurs from around the road erupted. A twinkle of light in the dark sky shown and everyone gasped and shrieked in excitement. I wrapped a blanket around myself and jumped up with amazement. Everyone around me screamed and hollered in shock!
Then it was over.
Just like that. Cars suddenly skidded in the gravel, moments after the eclipse ended and people rushed to their cars. Traffic was already starting and everyone was in a panic.
Then we remeasured the moment over and over again on the four-hour drive back home.
Then it was over.
(This was in 2017 and just published now.)