By Rain Gregorio

Aly and Tom

Sometimes, it crosses my mind,
how Aly and Tom split.
None of us expected
eternal love or air-brushed pictures coupled
with ornate wedding invitations and promises,
but it ruined our Thanksgiving
(the meat was dry anyway)
when she dragged him into another room,
and shot the poor dog right in his head.

Both of them called themselves my “best friend,”
but for 6 months, I heard nothing except whispers
and tearful recollections of spite.
It’s because she fled to New York, he says,
to live in a spotlight
that didn’t include me.
It’s because he lives in the past, she says,
and once when we fucked
he came inside me and didn’t say a thing.

His bruises showed the most,
the soft blue and purple sconces nudging
the surface of his worn skin.
I wondered how long it took
for him to wander street corners in dim moonlight,
burdened with a stink in his breath
and a crushing loneliness,
re-enacting a film noir scene under the belief
she would ask for him to come back.
But she didn’t.
and he moved to Berkeley because he knew
it was for the best.

When I visited Aly, she sang, same same same,
answering a question for how her life had changed.
She was right because her cooking still was shit.
The meat was still dry, and she still played records
they played when they cooked together.

I don’t know if they still love each other
and not just because they don’t love anything else;
maybe they were tired, or maybe she grew bored
of the way her legs dangled on his bed.
He told me once about how he used to wake up
to the lingering scent of her auburn hair
as she sprawled across his sheets with ocean limbs.
But, for her, I guess the novelty of the affection,
like all things we think are beautiful,
wilted and faded in time.

Maybe they don’t actually love each other,
maybe what they love is just security,
maybe they were just terrible people.
She doesn’t see him with the same rose-tinted glasses
that caught his eye in the first place,
afraid to admit that she herself
is the reason why she never said I love you when she hung up,
why she never enjoyed the drinks or the joints,
why when they fucked she could feel each minute pass
before it slipped from her fingers,
like all things she thinks are beautiful.
She feels foolish,
but I think she just grew up.

– – – – –

Long Beach-native Rain Gregorio has spent most of his life scribbling ideas into notebooks and napkins, patiently tending to each piece over time as later they bloom into poems, short stories, or songs. His credits appear in many unexpected places, such as IMDB, the album liner notes of his punk days, and assorted ironic videos on YouTube.

He is an avid reader of 20th-century American literature, and he works full-time as a localization editor in Los Angeles. He owns many leather-bound books, and his apartment smells of rich mahogany.

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