Fiction by Frank Possemato

The Yoshi Constellation

 “Just doing this is probably the most fun I've ever had in my life,” Jess tells me and I lean back against my van, it's steel a tickling reminder that it has enough gas to get her home and then me. Years from now I would read that a good marriage is when you're looking in the same direction together, not at each other. Tonight we're looking at the starts you can see from Quincy.

“Really? You must not have done much with your life,” I think but it comes out as a laugh after “really.” Wait a minute, she's done more than I have, been more places on the map- all those stories of following her favorite bands around, when I was that age my idea of fun was getting thrown out of Walgreens with Dave Grimaldi for making a wreck out of the magazine aisle--

“Yeah, I just kind of did things. Went along with what people were doing. I never really liked life that much. Now I'm starting too...”

I look over at her and she's still looking at the night sky. I take my place in the small space between her hand and her pocket. Her hair blows in front of her eyes from under her hat and I don't feel the least bit afraid. I wish she'd dress sexier, but only when we're alone, there are things I want to make different and none of them matter now. I feel the nighttime over and above me and we belong.

“Look,” I say, “it's kinda fun to make up your own constellations. That one looks like a whale.”

Thankfully she doesn't ask where because I've already lost the shape. I breath out and trace whales in the sky. The cars, once in a while, hum behind us.

“That one looks like Yoshi,” Jess says and my heart breaks or grows a little. We're stuck together now. You and me Yoshi. I never really liked Mario World and always kinda felt your arrival as Mario's dinosaur sidekick began the series's decline. But 20 years from now, at the car dealership, in the light coming through the curtains in the lawyer's office, in the aisles of the toy store with kids at my ankles, I'll see you and think of now. I'll think of being here with Jess, of time passed and heartache. The sight of you will make me sad I'm not there and happy I ever was. I'm not saying they're the same, I'm not, the love, the disappointment, the regret, but looking out and into the future they become almost hard to tell apart, where the night becomes the ocean at Wollaston Beach.

 The first generation in his family to attend college, Frank Possemato teaches English in the Los Angeles Community Colleges. His writing has appeared in a variety of publications including 3AM, Underground Voices, and in Akashic Book’s "Mondays Are Murder" series.