Rihanna walks into the graffitied dressing room. She smooths down her black dress to her hips and checks herself out in the mirror. She applies some shimmering lipstick and fixes the straps of her heels.
At the restaurant, she touches her boyfriend’s nose across the table. He asks her about her day and she gives him a small smile while looking off to the side.
In front of the mirror, she pulls up the lace within her bra, letting it peek through the dress and picks up her hair in the back. Her boyfriend leaves the table. At another table, a server takes a note and gives it to Rihanna. She puts it in her purse and once her boyfriend sits down again, she rests her hand on his.
She moves the curtain and walks past a ladder backstage. On stage, a young man plays the piano. Her boyfriend touches her chin as she sits on the stoop. She watches him through the railing as he walks away.
Rihanna places her hands on the piano. She and her boyfriend walk hand-in-hand on the sidewalk. He talks on his cell phone. She arches her back on the piano and motions to the music with her hands.
From the window, she checks to see if her boyfriend is sleeping and sends a text message to the other man. She runs her hands on the couch in the dressing room and bends over the seats in the auditorium. On the sidewalk, she looks over her shoulder to see if her boyfriend is following her. She sits next to the young man on the piano bench.
At the restaurant, she glances over the table across from her. It’s the other man, holding his pencil and staring at her. She looks at the table linen. Back on the sidewalk, she opens a car door and the other man waits for her to get inside. The other man turns to her as he plays the piano.
Wearing the other man’s t-shirt, she sits up in his head, running her hand on the sheet while he sleeps. They embrace and kiss on the piano bench. Rihanna stands against a white wall, wearing a black-and-white blouse over her corset top. She changes and walks into the alley, where her boyfriend sits on the bumper of his car, waiting. He stands up and she gives him a hug.
Rihanna should’ve been caught with the other man by now. She’s been waiting for it. There have times she’s slipped and her boyfriend has said nothing. Her boyfriend doesn’t seem to be even aware she’s miserable.
Appearances, though, are what matters to her boyfriend. He preps her for client dinners and shows her off at friend’s parties. However, at home, he talks to someone else on his cellphone on their walk and is the most affectionate with her while they sit on the stoop.
The relationship with the other man began as a friendship. She was hanging out with her best friends one night and he had tagged along. She emphasized that she had a boyfriend but she couldn’t control her pull to him. A month later, they were kissing and scheduling meeting times around their significant others.
The other man hasn’t pressured her to make a decision. However, she has told him it has to stop. The guilt is gnawing at her and she can no longer look herself in the eye. At the restaurant, she notices him sitting by himself and wants to run over to him and cry in his shoulder.
During every dinner with her boyfriend, she wants to tell him it’s over. ell her boyfriend But she knows his ego wouldn’t be able to handle it. He’s a smart and accomplished man. He’d scream and shout that his obsession with work was all her fault. The other man promises to be wait and provide moral support at the restaurant until she can say the words. She doesn’t know if she ever will be able to say them.
Director: Anthony Mandler Year: 2006
Pam Avoledo’s love of pop culture began in 1999 with the message boards dedicated to shows on the CW (then WB). She graduated from Oakland University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism.
When she is not debating whether Dawson should’ve ended up with Joey, she looks at cute dog memes on social media.