I woke up to the rattling bass of trap music from my nearly blown-out computer speakers. I checked my phone; I woke up before my alarm again. It was supposed to be a normal Friday.
I shuffled into my practically microscopic bathroom to straighten my hair, wash my sleep-crusted face, and put on something to cover the dark circles under my eyes. This is how I start my morning every day.
My phone buzzed on the dirty white porcelain of the sink. It was a text from my sister, and I thought it was strange that she had texted me so early in the morning. It was a text saying that one of our first and oldest friends in Denver had died. My mind couldn’t really comprehend what I had just read.
This was the soul who welcomed me and my sister when we were 16 into Rhino and made sure we were safe. He let me sleep at Rhino when I was too drunk to get home, he let me into shows for free when I didn’t have any money, he created some of the most marvelous music I had ever heard. He was the heart of Rhinoceropolis. It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
The first time I went to Rhino, I didn’t know what to expect; it was grungy and grimey and beautiful. It very quickly became my second home.
I am sleeping on a well-used couch, it is 4 a.m. in what was once the worst area of Denver, when I wake up to a huddle of strangers, friends, and night owls sitting on the couch next to me talking manically about music and art, surrounded by fine powders.
The synth-ridden techno music and drones of noise has settled for the night. I dream of the inner city streets of Denver that are covered with a haze of winter and industrial smog while I float around the city like a ghost until I can return back to my haven.
I wake up at 7 a.m.; I probably smell like equal parts cigarette smoke and death. I hang around the kitchen while I charge my iPhone and he pops a bottle of champagne.
“Do you want some?” he asks me. I am not sure what there was to celebrate, but I drank it anyway.