“Bad decisions!” she squealed with delight, sipping emphatically from a tacky concert-venue rumrunner out of an oversized plastic tube. The unnaturally raspberry-red frost-alcohol mixture greeted the humidity of a late August St. Augustine with too much enthusiasm, meeting a melting and leaving beads of dripping condensation.
In this 17-dollar drink she will find salvation, elation in the name of warmth and dancing, hips belonging now to fuzzed out reggae and the joints passed around new strangers. Anyone becomes a friend under red and green stage lights, everyone a reggae fan when the buzz is forming and the weed is flowing.
From the comfort of the comptroller’s chair, objectively her body looks good standing there in the steaming pillars of sudden wafting smoke. The crickets are drowned out easily by the joyful howls of a thousand hippies.
And what fun it is, a gathering, a group of people who don’t know the name of nor her emotional connection to the warm-up band playing. The atmosphere is palpable, intangibly, the shovel to her face ringing in her ears like 15ft high speaker stacks. A man in Henry Rollin’s uniform of black wraps tense fingers around the microphone in rebellion.
A belly, paunched, joins the artist on stage, and her eyes strain to reconcile the writer that for so long fueled the turning of her notebook’s page with this weathered father of three in a Rhymesayers tee.
Age and change, a peaceful range of rage steps in to take the place of youthful angst and anger’s plague.