So I have this friend from college, in fact in college he was more or less one half of all the friends I had, long story, not worth telling here. Him and I, and the third, formed a writers group that met every week, read stories we’ve written, and critiqued them. You can see the results that this group had on me in the years since, and for him the success has been far greater. He’s had, from what I can tell, four stories published, has received two acceptance letters on the same day, and with this story here, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Clearly people other than me like his writing.
The story, like all his stories, is heavily written in the minimalist vain. Much of the action sequences are written like stage direction, the same goes for the dialogue which has a minimal amount of explanation as to who’s talking. It’s a very modern (or might I say postmodern?) way of writing. It is a very difficult style to write in. What I like about the way Mr. Gregorio writes is that his paragraphs are very short. I have Dyslexia, reading for me is very difficult in normal circumstances, and getting through giant chunk paragraphs is nearly impossible, however the tiny paragraphs seen in this story, makes the task of reading very easy for me to do.
As for the story itself, the plot is also minimalist, heavily. The story is about a wedding and the bridal party, and the main character who showed up to the wedding minus there significant other. Before I go into what I thought the story was, perhaps you should read it for yourself first, you can find it here. I don’t want to ruin it for you with my thoughts.
Read it? Okay, good. From what I can tell the story is about a gay man, showing up for a good friend’s wedding, minus his boyfriend, and at the midpoint it’s reviled that the narrator has AIDS, and has recently found this out. It’s not even a concrete fact that the narrator is a man until the very end of the story, and the AIDS fact is never directly delivered, only referenced through context clues. Also the illusive “Ben” is not directly reviled as the narrators boyfriend either, but again it is implied. There is a lot of implication in the story.
The story title has multiple meanings, there is a direct reference to it in the form of a dream, and the way in which the narrator is trying to hide what he’s recently found out about himself (i.e. skeletons in the closet) there is also the way that the narrator is extremely skinny (as a result of his health problems we can infer) and his bridal party partner is also very skinny, and the two do embrace a-romantically on the dance floor. The idea extends even to the reader, we (the readers) are by reading the story, embracing it, and the story itself is very skeletal, a bare bones story if you will. The theme of acid rain runs through the story as well, but something in reference to that would not be nearly as layered or profound as the title we are given.