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September 27, 2023


Emily Costa

Sometimes Gel had this yellow cloud around her. One time I told her about it. I said Gel it’s like a glow, like you’re covered in light, and she said what the fuck Bianca. And I couldn’t explain how it was Teo, so I just shut up.

But I see it again at the Mount Carmel feast. We’re sitting on the church steps waiting to see who shows up. Gel did our makeup at her mom’s, lip-gloss and loose glitter. She’s got on a halter with a little cutout heart at the center of her chest. Teo’s chain is tripled around her wrist. We smoked on our walk down. Gel put the joint in her Altoids tin before we got to the church, pulled down her shorts a little.

On the steps, we pull apart the fried dough we got from the old ladies. They’re frying it in the church basement. You can smell the oil as soon as you turn onto America Street.

I see light around other people we know. Mike D’Amelio glows blue. Mr. Luciano glows white, but I think it’s because they lost their baby last year. Every time I’m near Brendan from health class, I get really cold.

The fried dough drips sauce like blood clots onto the church steps. The weed makes my eyes blur. I see Mike D’Amelio sneaking up behind Gel but I pretend I don’t so she’s scared when he grabs her. Mike’s glow is wisping like smoke. I wait to see if they mix when he kisses her neck, yellow and blue to green, but they never do. Teo doesn’t let it happen.

I need a Diet Coke and they come with. We weave through the crowd, the place packed with neighborhood people. Some glow, some have these balls of light zipping around them. The band is too loud. The old men playing scopa at a card table are fading away, and I turn so I can’t see.

Every night in bed, I try to reach Teo. It’s like praying but not. Why won’t he circle me, what’s wrong with me. But I know the answer—it’s something as simple and stupid as love. In life, in the backseat of his car, Teo told me as much. He was hers. I was just tension-release. I was just a vessel. I buttoned up and he drove me home. The ding of the open door as he made me promise. And then 4 in the morning, Gel calling. Me not picking up because I think it’s about one thing, but turns out it’s another.

We fish cans out of ice barrels. While I pay, they argue.

I think about being dead. Like, will I be color. Will I be air.

I hope I’m nothing. Big fade to black, only fast.