BEB: all at sea

By Renae Salunga, Artwork by Layla Gorgoni

part i.

you will be drunk off of malibu—

seven shots down to be exact

your breath stained by coconut 

more so than the rum, 

but your tongue, 

definitely loosened by the rum, 

when you ask him 

“do you think we could ever be.. something?

or like.. anything?” 


he doesn’t close the space—

the five feet of stained carpet 

more deliberate than his words.

his legs sprawled over 

a chair he didn’t ask to use,

as he says 

“honestly, no.” 


down the hall, your friends are

painting the town red

and you can pinpoint every lyric,

identify every laugh.

you can see the colors even three walls away.

and outside, there are first-years yelling,

running in hoards, living, even

your phone exchanges a breath,

buzzing from your best friends’ worry.


and yet,

you feel suffocated by the silence.

isolated by the colossal rift between you two,

smothered by all the room he occupies.

even in all its emptiness,

you are weighed down by 

his decisive voice

“it’ll probably never happen again”




part ii.

you will be lying across from him—

there are no covers,

no linen to hide the scars—

as he tells you “you are beautiful”

and means it.

“i miss you”

as he closes up any space.

“you are perfect”

even as you show him all of you. 


you do not move—

paralyzed by all the feelings

you wished away with the rum,

the ones you swore would not come back,

flushed down on the loneliest nights, 

and sent away at sea.


you tuck your eyes in for a second,

sink your teeth into your lips, 

before it takes everything inside you

to whisper 

“i don’t think we should do this anymore” 


you root yourself in the silence,

wane into the shadows

as he searches for words

he does not have.


and for once,

he looks

so 

very small.

begging.

wondering.

“why not?”


Samantha Freedman