Creature of the Night

Am I about to enthrall you with the madness and the mayhem of a Halloween for the books? I certainly hope so. Hijinks ensued, there were some honest intentions, some good civic duty, and an attention-grabbing outfit choice. I hope that the suspense is killing you. 

Let’s take it from the top: my trip to Siena came and went at the end of October, giving me a little over a month left in my Florentine stay. Around this time, I needed to get a COVID test, having fully breathed the same air as a then-COVID positive friend of mine in Siena. It had been a while since I’d gotten a COVID test so I’d forgotten what it felt like to be harpooned in the nose. I dragged myself to the local pharmacy for a few rapid tests where they now have a delightful new way of testing for COVID in which they first plunge the Q-tip into the back of your throat, before swabbing it so far into your nose that I swear it touches your brain. 

I knew that this was going to be bad, but solemn and dignified, I accepted my fate. Then, she thrust it back towards my tonsils and I reeled my head back, making the sound that my cat makes when she’s going through it with a hairball and it sounds like the world is ending.

I then proceeded to do this test three more times over subsequent days. 

My results came back negative each time, giving me a clean bill of health just in time for my favorite night of the year: Halloween.

This year, I planned to go as Magenta from Rocky Horror Picture Show. For those who’ve never seen Rocky Horror Picture Show, for starters change that, but there is a character named Magenta, an alien and a “creature of the night” who lives at Frank-n-Furter’s mansion and wears a French maid costume, some fishnets, and some pretty heavy face makeup.

For those who don’t know

Twas my time to shine. I went to a hole in the wall store to buy my Halloween costume a few days earlier and put together my Magenta look using the off brand Wednesday Addams costume they sell under the title of “gothic school girl costume” and their maid apparel. 

I walked around all day in costume.

People have since said to me, “I didn’t know that they celebrate Halloween in Florence.” 

They don’t, but I do. 

That might explain why those two people wanted to take a selfie with me. There were also a few strange looks on the bus.

As the day progressed, I seemingly was running the risk of not having any plans on Halloween night, sadder in my mind than not having any plans on Valentine’s Day. When my proposal for an in-costume bar crawl was unceremoniously rejected in the groupchat, I decided to instead go to a nightclub. Tenax nightclub had Nobody’s Perfect with Body and Soul playing that night, starting at midnight, and although I had no idea who any of those people were, that sounded right to me. 

I could not, not go out on Halloween night. Did I or did I not say “creature of the night?” I was in the mood for a science fiction double feature and to do the time warp at midnight.

Me on the bus

Halloween also happened to be one of the last days that I could vote in the Georgia midterm election so after taking an hour-long bus ride to print off my absentee ballot, I walked to my nearby post office and mailed it before going out to the nightclub. Just a girl with wildly teased hair, wearing dramatic face makeup, fishnet tights, and a French maid costume on her way to vote for Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock. The only problem was that I went to the place beside it first as it was closing and a man who was leaving had to inform me that I couldn’t mail in my ballot there. Frustrated by the amount of things going wrong, I started crying. 

The man was dealing with this

The man, who was taken aback by the crying American girl in a Rocky Horror Picture Show costume, was kind enough to walk with me around the corner to mail in my absentee ballot. This was the day that I learned that I have a pretty obvious tell for when I am about to cry since I throw my hands up in the air near my face like a cat that is about to start clawing at things. The man helped me get an envelope and a smaller envelope and then organize everything in the convoluted way that you must when you send in an absentee ballot. 

I explained to him that I was voting in an election. I was then trying to convey with my body language that I am voting progressively, which is impossible to do, but I think that my outfit communicated that well enough. He said that it was nothing, but that man went home with a story to tell. So, after traumatizing a man who was leaving work and voting in my midterm election, I went out clubbing. 

Tenax was perfect– alcohol, bright lights, and loud techno music. I felt like I was the best dressed person there since it’s hard not to be with basically a party-city white, faux-silk apron. I cut a rug on the dancefloor for a while. I couldn’t bust out the Wednesday Addams moves since I found myself once again in the middle of a mosh pit. There’s not much to say other than the jostling of the crowd became fierce and that the Halloween atmosphere was perfect. 

I didn’t stay long because I had to get up the next morning to catch a train to Venice. Oh, you want to hear about Venice? More on that next, but as far as this night was concerned, my Halloween in Florence was one for the books. I had the right costume and the right idea. I partied hard at night and walked around all day in costume, taking Halloween as seriously as I always do. 

I’m already planning my next Halloween, at least in terms of the costume.

The Tragic Queen,

Raquel

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