I met her on December 26th, 2002. I tripped on my words and felt sure my chin was wet with drool. At the time, I had no idea I’d be seeing her increasingly over the next few years and eventually share an apartment with her; she radiated a scintillating temporality and I wrung thoughts from my mind, determined to soak up her presence like a sponge.
All my life, I thought meeting Rachel Bridile would be like feeling pounding heat in the middle of winter and her gentle smile would be like a glass of lemonade. But in the night of December 26th, watching her stride toward me with flashing cameras behind her, pushing light out of darkness like searchlights, I felt as if I were in the midst of an emergency, like a tornado was gliding toward me and I was too afraid to move.
“What are you doing behind the ropes, Mr. Brice?” she giggled, staring at me. I felt the flashing heat of the cameras on my face. “How mistreated you are! Please allow me to be your escort and come join the party. Everyone is anxious to meet such a designer as yourself.” She extended her hand across the red ropes. My name is not Mr. Brice, it’s Thomas, and I am not a designer; I’m a code monkey. But I did not have time to realize that she knew—it’s so obvious now—that I wasn’t a designer and had no idea who I was. I took her hand and jumped the rope as gracefully as I could, my heart hammering in my chest, and did not allow myself to believe that this was an elaborate joke rather than a misunderstanding, that she was doing what I idolized her for: acting. We walked down the isle into a wide panorama of cameras and red carpet, framed with gold fixtures.