I jolt awake to a shrill chorus of crickets. It’s my alarm, and despite it being 7:15 on a Monday morning, despite my haggard eyes and bad breath, I still feel good. Nay—great. There’s a contagious warmth in my heart that I can’t seem to peg—a warmth that’s being pumped throughout my entire body, swimming to the tips of my fingers and the ends of my toes. Then, all at once, it comes back to me. As if I’m standing under a waterfall, under a warm flood of crystal blue Barbadian water.
I could tell you it began like most of her songs begin, with the scratchy yet strong vocals characteristic of Rihanna. I could say that, despite all the obstacles and the hopelessness of that place, we actually did find love. But all of those would be lies. What really happened was this…
It started as an amorphous, nebulous glow—an enigmatic, cloud-like mass—a tickle in my lady parts and a visceral feeling of euphoria and awe, more than anything else. But physically, it was the smoke cloud that came first, that precipitated everything else. It floated above what looked like a group of be-dreaded men, snaked through models’ gangly limbs, passed over the DJ booth, weaved in and out of beer cans, and landed, finally, at the tip of my nose. A faint, yet distinct aroma of weed. The hairs in my nostrils stood upright, my ears perked up, and I knew it was her. I couldn’t help but think: you really are a bad gal, Riri.
Then everything went black. And gradually, another amorphous mass began to take form, this time made of yellow diamonds. The light of the moon shimmered in its reflection and bounced back off the Hudson River. A gust of wind washed in and she emerged in the dark of night.
Then came the sound. Yes, technically a Sky Ferreira song was playing but as my eyes locked with Riri’s eyes, all I heard was the cacophony of trumpets, the intro to “All of The Lights,” getting louder and louder, reverberating around me. We were standing side by side indeed. Her shadow crossed mine, and I could feel it—finally! triumphantly!—what it takes to come alive.
Under a moonlit night, Rihanna came to me. In her creepers, she walked with a firm stride. She had the flesh of an angel—like warm milk and honey. A plumb lip stain to match her plumb nail polish. I pushed through strangers, through DJs and bloggers and photographers. And as I lifted my phone to snap a photo, she looked over at me, curled her upper lip and sneered. An imbroglio is what, in hindsight, I would call it. She might call it a forgotten memory.
I divined many things last night; namely, what it takes to come alive. But also that creepers are still what’s up, chokers are making a delightful comeback, and rat tails are, for the first time ever, in.